An authentic brand can create loyal customers who keep coming back. Customers who spread your story for you and build your community. Customers who refer you to their friends every time the topic comes up. But what makes a brand authentic?
It Starts with a Story
Before you can build an authentic brand, you need to understand your brand story. You need to know why you’re doing what you’re doing, and how you got there. Then, you need to build it into a story that you can share.
When you share your mission as a story, people will remember. You share the ups, the downs, and the full journey of how you became the ideal guide for their own hero’s journey.
Be Consistent and Unique
So, you need to not only have a brand story, you need to use it consistently. This message should appear on your website, your social media accounts, and your emails.
You want your mission to be clear and memorable. If you have a team, make sure your team members understand the mission so they can use it to guide decisions as well.
When you stay true to your mission and focus all of your efforts on the underlying reason why you do what you do, it makes any decision simple. Decisions should align with your company mission.
For example, the mission of ClearPath Online is to instill confidence in entrepreneurs who want to grow their own website traffic. We want to give digital marketing confidence to business owners who have no experience with it.
Our mission is not to get people to sign up for our DIY SEO tool. That is simply the main way we are able to fulfill our mission of providing confidence in online marketing. But, our mission doesn’t end there. Our social media content, our podcast content, and our email newsletters all try to support our mission. Before we create content we ask, does this help entrepreneurs become more confident in digital marketing? Will this help people grow their website traffic? If the answer is yes, we know it makes sense for our brand to build it.
If you want a clear framework on how to build out a story for your brand, I’d recommend reading Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller. It provides an actionable framework that you can use to create a compelling brand story.
Keep People First in Mind
To have an authentic brand, you need to remember that everything needs to be about the people you want to help, not about yourself. It’s okay to talk about yourself on social media, but make sure you tie in why your ideal customer should care. How does this relate to them?
Challenge yourself to always think of your customers, your target audience, and the community you are building. For example, if you receive an industry award, that is a big deal and something that should be shared. You might put a banner on your website, a post on your social media accounts, and send out an email to your list. Those are all great ideas, but don’t focus only on yourself. Use that moment to acknowledge all of the members in your community that helped you reach that achievement. Show gratitude.
Your brand has to be about more than yourself. It needs to be about your community.
No Black Hat Tactics
Do things the right way. If you want to be an authentic brand, don’t try and cheat the system.
Black hat tactics are tricks that people sometimes use to get quick SEO wins. If they work at all, the benefits normally don’t last long because the search engines catch on quickly. Then they adjust the algorithm so people can’t take advantage of that loophole again.
It’s not worth it. They are normally time consuming hacks that provide at most a short-term gain. They don’t help your community and they can even cause irreparable harm to your website.
Trying to trick the system will make you lose credibility and trust and won’t provide long-term results.
Lastly, be honest. Transparency goes a long way. The most authentic brands are completely honest and transparent.
Show people that they can trust you by providing accurate information, delivering on promises, and communicating constantly.
That’s it! Follow those guidelines and you will have built an authentic brand.
What do you think is the most important aspect of an authentic brand? Please share it with us in the comments!
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