Is your company’s brand authentic?
Most business leaders will say yes, but once they start looking at all the areas their brand touches, their answer becomes less certain.
To be authentic, you must clearly define who you are and what you deliver, then practice what you preach. To put it in everyday terms, it’s about keeping it real. When your customers’ perceptions and experiences don’t reflect your claims, your authenticity flounders.
Think about it. You may say your company is responsive to your customers, but how does that translate across all parts of your business—and do you truly deliver on it? If a client calls with a question, you are sure to take the call immediately or return their call promptly. But are you responding to your customers online, either in forums or social networks? Are you monitoring their online conversations to get a better understanding of their needs, desires and concerns? Delivering on your brand promise across all customer touch points is a key part of authenticity.
A business owner recently told me that he had never thought of his brand message as more than a marketing message, and when I asked him how he is delivering on his brand promise, he wasn’t really sure.
I suggested he participate in the following process to increase his brand’s authenticity.
- Break down your company’s value proposition. Identify what is unique about your company and what it offers that competitors don’t.
- Define your brand’s attributes. In other words, what do you want your company to be known for? Superior customer service? The best product of its type? Authority and expertise within its industry? A hip culture? Fun vibe?
- Outline the actions you’ll take to deliver on your promises. Once you’ve developed your strategy and tactics, share the proposition, attributes and action plan with your employees. This education is important. Your employees are the ones supporting and delivering your brand promise every day. Transforming employees into brand advocates is crucial to authenticity.
How are you keeping your brand authentic?