Brand Authenticity – The Key to Success on Social Media

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Heidi Lang

Instagram 101 | Dec 29, 2023

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Social media is changing how brands communicate with people. One key aspect that has become important in this digital era is brand authenticity. 

Being real is important for brands to do well and keep customers hooked. For 90% of the customers, authenticity is a significant aspect that they consider when they pick brands to shop from.

So, if you want consumers to perceive your brand as authentic, you need to show reliability, respect, and genuineness. While this is true for businesses, it’s also a key factor for Instagram influencers seeking their brand’s success on Instagram.

Now, we know that consumers universally seek authenticity. But what does it mean, how can you acquire it, and how can it impact influencer success? Let’s explore more. 

A person is holding a phone showing a social apps folder.

What Is Brand Authenticity?

Are you wondering what brand authenticity is? Authenticity is about how people see if a brand is true to its values. Consumers judge businesses based on their values and what they do to remain true to these values. If people see a contradiction in a brand’s conduct and the value it says it has, they might lose interest. 

Authenticity comes from good intentions and caring for the consumers’ interests and preferences. People want to be sure a brand stays true to what it says it is.

When people think a brand is authentic, these are the four things they see in it:

  1. Continuity — this means sticking to what makes the brand itself.
  2. Credibility — being honest with the people who like the brand.
  3. Integrity — caring and doing things responsibly.
  4. Symbolism — helping people be true to who they are.

A person looking at a graph showing the profitability of their success on social media.

Why Is Brand Authenticity Important?

Being authentic is what makes a brand. It means being clear, truthful, and steady. Let’s walk you through why brand authenticity is important.

Elevates your presence above the noise: As ad blocks become more common, being authentic in your communication online has become crucial. This authenticity can turn your customers into your brand advocates. It can help spread the word through social media posts, word-of-mouth, or email.

Profitability: Modern consumers focus on authenticity when making purchasing decisions. Customers are likely to invest in products or services that show openness. High authenticity resonates with consumers and attracts a larger customer base. This contributes to increased profitability.

Helps cater to the younger demographic: With over 139 million individuals in the U.S., Millennials and Gen Z form a large consumer force. Studies show these generations favor brands portraying authenticity over perfection. They seek brands aligning with their concerns. Ignoring these preferences risks losing these customers. In turn, it compels brands to adapt to meet their expectations.

Earns trust and loyalty: Brands earn loyalty by keeping promises, interacting with customers, and staying honest in business and communication. This authenticity builds trust and keeps customers coming back.

Forges deeper connections: Just as being authentic works for personal interaction, it does for brands, too. When brands are honest and stick to who they are, it resonates with the customers. This makes your brand’s messages and ideas more powerful, making people feel stronger emotions about them. The research highlighted that customers deeply connected to a brand are 52% higher than those “highly satisfied.”

Shows a sense of care: Giving consumers something authentic to connect with encourages emotional investment. This sense of care makes it harder for them to detach from your brand.

A person is engaging with a customer via Instagram DM.

How To Build Brand Authenticity?

Growing your brand’s authenticity involves a strategic approach that resonates deeply with your audience. If you’re wondering how to build brand authenticity, here’s how you can achieve this:

Craft a Compelling Brand Story 

A good story is more than just a way to sell stuff. It’s about storytelling that connects emotionally. Share stories that depict genuine human experiences, showcasing challenges overcome or inspiring journeys.

Remember, users want to see Instagram stories that show authenticity. This authenticity helps your audience feel connected to your brand. It helps them understand your brand’s values and goals better.

Embrace Transparency 

Creating an authentic brand is all about being clear and honest. People want to know how your business works, who works with you, and your brand’s story. It’s crucial to be open and truthful about how your business operates. Show off the values that drive your brand and introduce the people who make it happen. This will build a strong, reliable connection with your customers.

Consistent Messaging

It is key in reinforcing your brand’s identity. Align your brand’s message across all touchpoints. This will help you ensure it reflects your core values, vision, and objectives. But you need to be constant in your online and offline presence. From your website and social media content to printed materials, stay consistent. It creates a cohesive brand image, making your identity clear and recognizable.

Foster Customer Connections

Building authentic brand relationships with customers necessitates forming genuine connections with them. Engage actively on social media—respond to comments and messages and seek feedback. This shows a commitment to hearing and valuing their voices, nurturing trust, and reinforcing authenticity.

Practice What You Preach 

Authenticity is all about building credibility. Your brand’s actions must match its words. Ensure that your company practices align with the promises and values you communicate. This includes everything from customer service interactions to corporate social responsibility initiatives. Actions that resonate with your brand’s ethos build trust and credibility.

Embrace Mistakes and Learn

No brand is perfect. Acknowledge any missteps transparently and rectify them. Embracing imperfections shows humility and honesty. Engage openly with your audience, addressing concerns and feedback promptly. This transparent approach demonstrates accountability and a commitment to improvement. This fosters trust and loyalty.

Showcase Your Reputation

Positive brand recognition is important. Highlight your brand’s positive aspects through user testimonials, reviews, and case studies. Encourage honest feedback, engage actively across digital platforms, and leverage satisfied customers’ experiences. Showing your reputation proves your brand is reliable, genuine, and trustworthy.

Highlight Your Brand’s Distinctiveness

If you want to establish authenticity, highlight what sets your brand apart. It could be your brand’s narrative, sustainability commitment, or unparalleled product quality. Any of these unique facets can set you apart. Highlighting these special qualities makes your brand stand out and creates a strong bond with your target audience. This will help your brand connect deeply with the people you want to reach.

A blogger is working on her brand's social media marketing in front of her computer.

Challenges in Maintaining Authenticity

Knowing all the tricks to maintain authenticity might not be enough in this constantly changing landscape. It can still become challenging for you to execute those tricks in real time. Let’s discuss a few such challenges: 

Consistency Over Time: Staying true to your message, values, and actions as your company grows can be tough. It gets even harder to stay true to the essence and authenticity as the company expands.

Adapting to Change: Adapting to changing customer tastes and new tech while staying true to your brand can be tricky. Striking this balance requires agility and foresight.

Avoiding Over-Commercialization: As influencer brands grow, there’s a risk of prioritizing commercial goals over genuine connections with customers. Balancing commercial success with authentic interactions can be tricky.

Maintaining Transparency: Maintaining transparency in everything, from sourcing to business practices, is becoming demanding. That is because of the increased scrutiny from consumers and regulatory bodies.

Employee Alignment: As the brand scales, ensuring that all employees embody the brand’s ethos and values becomes challenging. Achieving this alignment across various departments and levels of the organization is an ongoing hurdle.

Addressing Crisis Situations: Managing authenticity during crises or challenging situations requires a delicate approach. Upholding transparency and honesty becomes even more critical to maintain trust.

Addressing the Challenges of Maintaining Authenticity 

Addressing the challenges of maintaining authenticity necessitates a multi-faceted approach. Brands can integrate the following strategies into the fabric of the organization to address these challenges: 

Consistent Internal Communication: Regularly reinforce the brand’s values and vision across all levels of the organization. Conduct training programs, workshops, and internal communications that emphasize the importance of authenticity.

Embrace Flexibility: Adapt to consumer preferences and market dynamics changes while staying true to the brand’s core values. Flexibility in strategies and approaches helps navigate evolving landscapes without compromising authenticity.

Prioritize Customer Relationships: Focus on building genuine connections with customers. Listen actively to their feedback, engage in meaningful conversations, and adapt offerings based on their evolving needs.

Transparent Practices: Maintain transparency in all aspects of operations. Be open about business practices, sourcing, and decision-making processes. Communicate openly during crises to maintain trust.

Cultural Integration: Ensure that the brand’s values are deeply ingrained in the company culture. Foster an environment where employees understand, believe in, and embody the brand’s authenticity.

Balanced Growth: Prioritize authentic engagement over aggressive commercialization. Strive for a balanced approach that emphasizes meaningful interactions with customers alongside business growth.

Responsive Crisis Management: Develop a robust crisis management plan that aligns with the brand’s authenticity. Address issues openly, take responsibility, and communicate transparently during challenging times.

Regular Evaluation: Continuously assess and reassess the brand’s strategies, messaging, and actions against its authenticity goals. Solicit feedback from stakeholders and adapt as needed.

A Chobani blueberry-flavored yogurt.

Brand Authenticity Examples

Let’s explore three brand authenticity examples of businesses that have found success by coordinating their marketing, purpose, and products. We’ll also talk about what they do to make us believe they’re an authentic brand.

Chobani

Chobani rules the Greek yogurt market because its CEO is really committed to bringing top-quality strained yogurt to America. When Hamdi Ulukaya, a Turkish immigrant, got to the U.S., he wasn’t satisfied with the quality of the yogurt there. So, in 2005, when he found a yogurt plant up for sale, he bought it.

Ulukaya has a strong belief in a business’s potential to impact local communities positively. This belief significantly influences his approach to running Chobani. 

Chobani’s tagline is, “A cup of yogurt won’t change the world, but how we make it might.” He loves making great yogurt with natural ingredients and also cares a lot about helping local communities. This mix has made people see Chobani as a real brand that makes a good product, honestly.

Ulukaya’s focus on helping communities and ensuring his workers are happy and paid well has made his company really popular. He’s spoken up for raising the minimum wage, and in 2016, he gave 10% of the company to his workers. 

Chobani’s genuine actions and commitment to quality have solidified its reputation as an authentic brand. Chobani beat Yoplait in sales and got almost $2 billion in sales in 2016.

Zappos

Zappos is one of the authentic brands. Its success is due to CEO Tony Hsieh’s establishment of the company’s culture around ten core values. These values form the essence of Zappos, emphasizing the commitment to delivering exceptional service and fostering a vibrant, open-minded workplace.

Zappos trains all its employees really well so they understand what customers want and can give great service. They even give a bonus to new hires if they want to quit after their training week. This is to keep people who really fit with the company’s values and care about giving awesome service.

Hsieh, unafraid of change, implemented Holacracy, a self-governing system, to distribute decision-making across the organization. This bold move aimed to sustain innovation and prevent bureaucracy as Zappos expanded.

Their marketing echoes their unconventional spirit. Through the #ImNotABox campaign, Zappos used its packaging to encourage customers to think creatively. This innovative approach seeks to inspire people to see the world differently and embrace their uniqueness.

Zappos’ focus on customers and having a clear, happy work culture made Amazon buy it in 2009. Even after Amazon bought it, Zappos kept its style and did really well, making over $2 billion in 2015.

Oasis

In 2015, Oasis started ‘O Refreshing Stuff’ to reach out to teens. Then, in 2017, they did more with the ‘Win a Cut of Our Remaining Marketing Budget’ contest. They gave away cash prizes that they playfully advertised as part of their marketing budget.

Simon Harrison, who manages customer marketing at Coca-Cola European Partners, said this promotion matches Oasis’ special style. Moreover, he stated that it connects with young adults through fun content. Oasis understands its audience, sends messages they relate to, and shows its fun side, all while staying true to itself.

Grow on Instagram With PathSocial 

Building brand authenticity demands you to have unshakable commitment and persistence. If you have a solid plan with robust strategies, you won’t have trouble overcoming them. 

Some strategies could include defining your brand, embracing transparency, and maintaining consistency. Besides these, you also need to actively engage customers, honor loyalties, and show them why your brand is different. 

Prioritizing authenticity cultivates loyalty. This ultimately strengthens companies’ products or services to become successful brands.

At Path Social, we know the art of leveraging authentic influencer-brand partnerships. We do this by facilitating organic growth and engagement. So, if you want to authenticate your brand on Instagram, connect with us. 

Start growing and gaining Instagram followers today with Path Social’s fool-proof strategies!