The world is full of businesses – and full of online businesses now, too. Knowing how to create an authentic brand gives you the opportunity to connect more deeply with your audience, creating strong bonds. And those bonds are what will keep them loyal, so long as you continue to be authentic.
Why does being authentic help?
As human beings, we’re all social creatures. Yes, even the introverts among us! And as social creatures, we all have deep-rooted needs to be part of a tribe, to connect with others and to feel understood and accepted. When you create a brand that is authentic, you open up the possibilities for others to see you and connect with you in the manner that is deeply ingrained in them. It also helps for people to connect a real person, and especially someone they can relate to, with the business they are either already doing business with, or could someday do business with.
What does being authentic as a brand entail?
The easiest way to create authenticity as a brand is build the environment that allows connection to your audience. And to do that, you need to stop hiding the person behind the brand. In other words, stop hiding yourself! People want to know you. People want to connect with you. People want to hear and share your story and your experiences. At the end of the day, people connect with other people, not with businesses. You make your business feel authentic through your brand. It is through your brand that you are able to have a voice and a personality that is associated with your business. If you’re a service provider, this is likely your voice and your personality. But for product-based businesses and for businesses with multiple founders or partners, you’ll craft your brand voice and personality to suit your business. And so knowing that being authentic as a brand means showcasing the “personality” and using your “voice” to talk about business and other topics, what are the specific things you can do to showcase the authenticity in your brand?
Talk like you normally would
First things first. To be authentic as a brand, you must master the art of writing as you would speak… so you can sound like a real person. A lot of us with corporate backgrounds have been conditioned to writing in a way that doesn’t sound AT ALL like what we sound like in real life. And that, unfortunately, makes it very difficult to connect with your readers, your audience, and your ideal customers. It makes sense though, doesn’t it? If you don’t sound like a real person, your reader won’t associate your brand with a real person. So write like you speak. Make it sound human. People like people. People don’t like businesses, and they especially don’t like corporate businesses. So stop sounding like one, and just be… you. That’s all they want.
Share your brand story
Next is something a bit more nerve-wracking to do. If you’re the type of person who likes to keep things private, this is going to push you a little. But it really helps you build authentic relationships with your audience, and that’s the aim here, isn’t it? So this next step is to develop your brand story and share it with your audience. The key here is to choose a brand story that is relatable. We all have stories we can tell about how and why we started our businesses and are where we are. But the key is to choose the angle that’s going to help you develop that bond with your audience. Of course, the only way to do that is to then share your story, and share it often so that you reach as many people across your audience as possible.
Side note: In my Unleash Your True Potential program, there is a lesson dedicated to finding your brand story. This powerful exercise helps create the connections discussed in this article.
Be honest and transparent
The third thing to focus on is transparency. In other words, be honest. There is nothing that will break any hard-earned trust faster than being caught in a lie. So choose your words and your stories carefully. Make sure you are upfront about anything that could potentially backfire. And always be honest. Being honest and open, and even vulnerable, has a lot more benefits than drawbacks. Even if you lose some of your audience because of something you share, you can rest assured that they wouldn’t have stuck around in the long run anyway, as evidenced by their jumping ship at the first disagreement. A true tribe will stick with you, so long as you’re always honest and transparent with them.
Connect and engage
And to build that tribe, you need to be connecting and engaging with the audience you have in your circles and across your platforms. But more than that, you need to be connecting and engaging with them in a real way. There is nothing more annoying than being spoken to with the fishy smell of a request lingering in the background. If you want a tribe – which you should want! – then build one in the same way you would build your friendships. Through mutual interests, real conversation and engaging with no other motive but to get to know each other.
In today’s day and age, being as authentic as possible is no longer an added advantage. It is an absolute need. Spending the time that it takes to build the brand that allows you to be genuine and authentic is a key business requirement. The question of how to create an authentic brand, then, becomes a key business discussion and should be given the rightful place in building your business and your brand.
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