The big A in marketing: Authenticity
Updated: Feb 11, 2019
In a world of social media and citizen journalism, there is one thing that matters more than anything else. It's what we here at Obvious* refer to as the Big A, or authenticity. It's why content marketing - certainly in evolving forms over time - is the future of how brands will engage with their customers.
Our definition of authenticity is this: talk (or advertise or market or message) the way you behave. It's important because that is the right thing to do. But it's also important because if you don't, the downside is getting steeper and steeper.
Authenticity isn't a matter of economics - not in the short run, at least. For your customers, it is a matter of perception. For your company, it is establishing a license to operate. For your employees, it is a sense of purpose.
From where we sit, this is why content marketing exists. Because people want to look deeper than a commercial and grab on something real. And if a commercial goes against something real that people know about a brand, then they get upset. Rightfully so.
A great example of this is Gillette's recent commercial that decries toxic masculinity. That is their external message, but that message isn't necessarily consistent with reality - with how the company behaves. When you have a brand that has been actively promoting traditional (if not necessarily toxic) masculinity for decades, it requires more than a promise moving forward. It requires a recognition of their past and a clear action plan for what they are changing internally. It requires real information, not just lip services.
Part of what we help our clients do is seek this authenticity in all content that we produce. Through their own stories, through customer testimonials, through everything from social media posts to banner ads to earned media placements.
Authenticity leads to connection, which leads to trust, which enables honest information, which can (should) lead to better service for your customers. It is a virtuous cycle that all starts with the Big A.