2018 Should be Your Year of Authenticity, Here’s Why
Never before have people’s attention been in such high-demand. In an age where getting eyeballs on a post, blog, or video seems essential to a company’s success, the stakes to impress or to “wow” are high.
But let’s scale this back. What truly sets one brand apart from another? Is it having more attractive social media fodder? Not (usually).
Could it be pushing out the most blogs per month, comparatively? Probably not.
Or no, wait, it’s got to be the company’s branding cohesiveness? That’s a good guess, but not solely the answer.
Brand Authenticity – Your Not-So-Secret Weapon
No, what sets a brand apart from its competitors is its AUTHENTICITY and the internet is the best place to fake authenticity OR exude it.
We all love and loathe the internet, right? Why? We love it because it’s an endless vault of information, excitement, shopping, discovery, learning and more. We loathe it because it’s too easy to feel bad about oneself, waste hours of time, and develop carpal tunnel.
As a brand, you want to embody what people love about the internet and try to mitigate the reasons why they simultaneously loathe it. If you focus less on standing out and more on effectively sharing who you are and what you do, you’ll fall into the category (for the appropriate audiences, of course) of excitement, discovery, shopping (if applicable), and more.
If you aren’t effectively sharing who you are and what you do, you’ll quickly fall into the category of why people loathe the internet. You’ll wind up wasting people’s time, triggering feelings of negativity about their lives, and contributing to their carpal tunnel (jk, totally not your fault).
“So, why should 2018 be YOUR year of authenticity? Because when your authenticity shines through, the attention of your intended community will focus.”
Attention is a hot commodity, and without it, your brand has no chance of building relationships. Need further convincing? Ponder these four reasons:
1. People Engage With Personality, Not Sales Pitches
Anyone selling anything can make sales pitches online all day. Exposing the personality of a brand or company online will transform your sales pitch into a relatable story. Let’s say you are a hotel, and you want to show your audience around the property. On the one hand, you could just have a team member walk around the grounds recording little snippets and then adding them to the hotel’s Instagram Story. This will be mildly engaging.
Instead, why not interview team members and have them share their favorite moments at the hotel with your audience. Or, do an Instagram live and ask the audience to request where they’d like to be taken on a virtual tour. Does your hotel front desk team have a corny joke they always say while checking guests in? Take a video of that instance and share it online. Take note of the various ways the personality of your brand manifests, and thoughtfully create a way to capture and share it.
2. Display an Understanding of People’s Struggles
People pay attention to and pay for things that make their lives easier. Guaranteed if you can show, your audience, in a genuine way how you make their life easier, they will be sold. Let’s use the example of a yoga studio. ANy yoga studio can go online and post beautiful photos of their instructors doing crazy poses. Sure, people may feel inspired while gazing at the photos, but will they come into the studio for a class? Perhaps. A better way to ensure people will come is to share why the studio opened.
A yoga studio opens to make money, sure, but like whoever opened it loves yoga for deeply personal reasons. Did it heal the spirit after a bout of cancer? Did it help them deal with a divorce or other personal drama? If said yoga studio accompanies each post with a glimpse into how yoga will enhance one’s life, the audience will happily pop in for a class to get a dose of the healing powers for themselves. Understand your audiences struggles, assess how you can help, and then creatively show how you do so.
3. People Crave to Know What’s Real + Will Pay Attention to What is Perceived As Such
It’s endlessly frustrating to be on the internet watching someone be successful or do something epic without knowing how. Does that person actually have flawless skin or have they edited themselves to appear so? On the internet, it’s so easy to paint a pretty picture without indicating the truth behind any of it.
How can your brand show its truth? How can you be real, tangible, and truthful to your audience? If you find a way to do so when your competition can’t, you will garner attention. Was a mistake made somewhere, somehow? Talk about it! Humans make mistakes; robots don’t. Do you like interacting with a robot or human?
Rather than talking about how your Caribbean island celebrates Carnival in a unique way, let people see the story of one of your team members participating in the parade. Like Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort recently did. Find your company’s human side.
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4. You Can’t Afford to be Passed Over
When it’s all said and done, the reason to be authentic is simple. You can’t afford not to be. If an audience perceives your product or service as highly marketed, fake, or identical to the next, you’ll just get passed over. Imagine you’re scrolling through Amazon looking for a new phone case. There are hundreds of options. Which ones stand out? Which ones do you click on? We’re willing to bet you scroll right past those that look too flashy like they’re trying to grab your attention. Perhaps you also pass up ones that appear too similar to all the others; you want something that is unique and different. Be the cell phone case people end up purchasing.
Stand out in your authenticity. Attract an audience on your best days and during your worst. Tell people your story. Charm your audience and capture their attention by allowing your personality to show. There’s too much noise around for anything other than your authentic brand to attract attention.
Think back to the cliche advice mom gave before your first day of school “sweetheart, just be yourself.” It’s always the simplest concepts that are the most powerful. Harness the beautiful simplicity of authenticity and make 2018 your most viewed, liked, and engaged year yet.