The words ‘authentic’ and ‘marketing’ might lead cynics to conclude they can’t be used together in the same sentence, such is the perception sometimes around the way that companies promote their products and/or services.
But the reality is that Authentic Marketing is not an oxymoron: the two must exist hand in hand because customers today are too savvy not to know when they’ve been duped.
But what is Authentic Marketing really and why is it so important?
Essentially it is the practice of brands, retailers, and companies to promote their core values, vision, and mission in a uniform manner – through all of their social channels, adverts and general marketing.
But here’s the crux – they have to honest and be able to back up claims with cold, hard facts. People soon realise when a company is just talking the talk.
In our busy lives today we are bombarded by ads – anything from 4,000 to 10,000 a day – mostly through social media channels and on the face of it, it can be hard to sort out tall tales from truth.
Anyone can create content and fake news sites can spread their content as easily as long-established newspapers and magazines, but the internet bubble is not without its advantages and in a trice, by performing a quick search, you detect the faithful from the fallacious.
And if there is any fallout a resulting social media barrage can ensue and real damage done. All brands are terrified of trial by social media, which is why you always get a prompter reaction from a company after complaining (naming and shaming them) on X (formerly Twitter), as opposed to the lengthy phone conversations to someone in a call centre or (worse) the website Chat Bots that take you round in never decreasing circles.
Authentic Marketing is based on the same research as traditional marketing, but the best method to create an authentic campaign starts with audience intent and if you understand where your audience’s values overlap with your brand’s you’re on the way to building a great campaign.
You have to know what matters to your target market, for example
almost a third of Generation Z will not buy from a brand that is out of sync with their social conscience. And three-quarters of Generation Z and Millennials are adamant about the importance of buying from brands that promote diversity.
Brands have, in the past ,steered away from any kind of engagement in social, political or climate issues, but now the school of thought is to tackle them head on and engage in these conversations, and in this way you can initiate a community feel to the brand.
Arguably, however, the most ‘authentic’ form of marketing is carried out by your happy customers. Reviews, ratings, questions, videos, photos, and blogs are instrumental in convincing people to buy a product.
And if you ‘engage’ properly with these new customers you have a great chance of keeping them – if not for life, at least for a considerable time.