Authenticity speaks for itself

Recently, we saw an ad made by the Liberal party go viral. For all the wrong reasons. The ad attempted to depict a regular tradie, on a regular building site, saying some regular things to convince voters. But unfortunately for the Coalition, Australia saw this.

Ironically, the advert was mercifully mocked by the very people it intended to persuade, tradies.  #faketradie trended nationally on social media and memes flooded the internet, negatively disrupting the party’s campaign as voters expressed multiple reasons why they thought the tradie in the ad was a paid actor. And there appeared to be some valid, albeit entertaining, points.

Eventually, the ‘real’ fake tradie emerged but by this time, the damage had been done. Public reaction to the ad demonstrates consumers are much more zealous than brands sometimes give them credit for.

The challenge is, the closer you get to things consumers hold dear, like who is going to run the country for example, the more authentic you need to be. This is true of everything, but you are more likely to be caught out when you are dealing with things people are passionate about.

Would you buy a fake watch? Probably, if it looked the part.

Would you buy a fake brand car? Probably not.

Would you buy a fake brand? Definitely not.

If you’re seeking to engage with consumers on an emotional level, tapping into their deepest passions and beliefs, it’s in your interests to come to the party with authenticity. ‘Being authentic’ is a phrase that gets bandied around more often than a trending #faketradie hashtag but what does it really mean?

A quick online search reveals a plethora of definitions; this is a good one that even comes with a measurement scale! Brand executives of some big names share how authenticity plays out in their service offering. More recently, Cohn and Wolfe have spent years studying authenticity and compiled all that knowledge into a top 100 list of the highest ranking brands based on consumer perception. And there are countless more examples of what other brands are doing but in the end, what’s important is what you’re doing.

Let’s take a look at what authenticity means to your business and your customers:

Reflect on what makes your brand truthful – what do you do to show consumers you’re credible? Whether it be locally sourced products or labour, commitments to innovation or service, live up to the standards you promote.

Reflect on what makes your brand trustworthy – how does your business continually support customers? Consistency is key here. Ensure that every interaction someone has with your business is a high quality experience. Web, email marketing, telephone, email, it doesn’t matter. Roll out the red carpet each and every time you interact with a customer.

Reflect on what makes your brand transparent – how are you being true to your brand story and heritage? Define how your business proposition provides value to your target audience and engage them by encouraging customer created product images across your social media for example. Show that you’ve got nothing to hide and value feedback to help deliver a better product.

Now, you can genuinely get out there and engage your customers with your story. As #faketradie awkwardly showed us, it’s easier to be something you are, rather than trying to be something you are not.

If you’re looking for a hand to flesh out and share your own piece of authenticity, we’d love to help.

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