Branding and Authenticity: Grow Your Fanbase and Your Business Growth Will Follow
Branding. You're going to hear that word thrown around a lot. At it's core, branding is simply the act of creating how customers perceive your business or organization. But what does this mean? How do you even do this? A lot of foresight, effort, planning and heart go into branding efforts. Even corporate giants like Starbucks and Pepsi have failed before, as the balance is precarious. You can't just sit in observation and you can't just follow causes because they're trendy. You need a message, a motive, you need to find your place.
Branding 101: Brand Authenticity
Something to note about a brand is that you don't have full control over it. Brands are an emotional and evocative experience. Humans are, after all, emotional creatures. Some brands may say "we are this" and "we do that" and "we stand for this" in their content, or even with some behavioral gestures. However, veteran brands know better, and consumers, likewise rarely see the brands they admire behave like this. The important lesson to take from this: transparency is everything. Brands that have a strong purpose, common unifying belief and a strong mission beyond making money resonate. Much of the way this comes about is through proper positioning and knowledge of your audience.
Good Branding Authenticity Can't Be Feigned
Authenticity can not be faked. It can, however be recognized, thus, crafted to be recognizable. Product growth strategist Tyler Walsh mentions 3 different steps to growing your brand just like the most recognized brands in the world. They are:
- Create and use your own authentic photos.
- Carefully selecting your language - formal or casual.
- Artfully and meticulously pinpointing your visual identity.
There's still more, of course. Kim Harris Busdieker, a long-time customer communications professional goes on to add that you should listen and respond to your customers, empower them to give feedback and then respond to the customer to create your authentic brand voice.
Crafting Brand Authenticity Through Storytelling
Emotional storytelling and authenticity come true to being yourself, of course. By giving your products and services an identity and remaining true to your core values, you can really captivate your chosen audience while bringing them the value they crave. Telling stories based on cultural relevance, popular memes or spontaneity is simply necessary for remaining relevant and sincere as a brand. By identifying the relevant stories your audience wishes to hear, and using the proper medium, you set the pace for ensuring authenticity is more than just a vague and overused word.
Six Trends in Crafting Authentic Marketing Stories
So how does one best tell these stories then, you ask? Great question! There is no magic bullet to the strategy any successful brand uses to market themselves but there are recurring trends for marketing leaders to take note of. According to the Digital Marketing Institute, there are six trends every brand marketer should be aware of and they are:
- Tell stories that are driven by data.
- Use mini-ads to tell your brand's tale in a snappy yet creative fashion.
- Let your customer "lead" your storytelling efforts.
- Tell your story through your good deeds. (Philanthropic Storytelling)
- Use full immersion storytelling. This uses a fully immersive experience for the user to engage them with your brand.
- Don't forget about "dark social" and make use of it to share your narrative.
Does Your Business Need Help With Its Branding?
After reading about all the things that go into branding, it must be surprising that only 10% of marketers have embraced brand storytelling. At least according to brand storyteller Taylor Holland, who recounts her experiences with the subject illustrating that many firms are still in the growth process in regards to storytelling. She adds that brands of all kinds are still learning to tell stories like writers, rather than just talking about products. If you feel your brand is still on shaky ground, rest assured, you're not alone.
Here at Superlative Creative, storytelling and branding are our expertise. We specialize in digital marketing with a full host of services ranging from SEO and SEM to content management and social media. Take some of the hard work off your shoulders and hire us. You'll be glad you did.
Give us a call at (305) 707-6993 to schedule a consultation and find out more today.