Much Ado About Authenticity
In marketing, the word “authenticity” gets tossed around all the time. But I don’t think that enough of us stop to consider what it truly means. In a sense, it’s ironic to order your marketing team to “be authentic!” because authenticity requires a certain lack of trying. However, there are some ways to try and get in touch with your authenticity, which I’d like to talk about today.
First, realize that by definition, authenticity will look different for everyone and for every organization. To figure out what it looks like for your business, consider the following exercises:
Describe your company’s personality, as if it were a person.
Choose three adjectives that sum up your organization’s voice.
Ask yourself: If your business were a celebrity, who would it be? Describe that person.
Ask yourself: If your business were a close friend or family member, who would it be? Describe that person.
Think about your core customer base. How do they view your business? Is it the type of business they find fun and engaging (think: a brewery), or is it more of a “necessary evil” – the type of benign, un-exciting operation that one deals with out of necessity (think: insurance).
What these exercises are meant to do is flesh out the true, authentic personality and identity of your organization. Once you have a strong idea of that, it’s much easier to find your voice on social media and in marketing communications.
You never want to be something you’re not. For example, if Parklife were a person, I would describe it as a friendly and laid-back perfectionist. That guides our communications to be warm and casual. If I wrote something overly formal under our masthead, it would sound totally wrong and inauthentic for our company. Same thing if I were to write something that neglected attention to detail; that would be unfaithful to our perfectionist tendencies as a business. Yeah, we like to have fun, but our work is always of the highest caliber. Think Matthew McConaughey for the celebrity analogy – he may come off as a pretty relaxed dude, but he can also act like nobody’s business.
In the same vein, you should not force your business to sound perky or overly friendly if you run a formal, corporate operation. Some businesses will sound more proper and reserved on social media and in communications; that’s totally fine, too. It’s all about finding your individual voice and remaining authentic to it. Maybe, instead of a Matthew McConaughey, your business is more of a Denzel Washington – focused, serious, professional.
The reason why it helps to know if your organization is the type that people enjoy doing business with, or if it’s more of a “necessary evil,” is that it will help shape what type of content you share. I recommend that “necessarily evil”-type businesses, like insurance or accounting, vary their content to include things that go beyond your line of work. Insurance is one of those topics that no one likes to hear about all the time, while there are other things people love to hear about – like dogs, heartwarming stories, or local community projects. This type of “just-for-fun” content will look different for every organization, depending on your unique voice, fan base, et cetera. Regardless of what exactly you choose, mix it in now and then to keep your content fresh and engaging. While this content may not directly encourage sales, it will do so indirectly by grabbing – and keeping – the attention of your followers. Again, just remember to share it in your company’s authentic voice. Any business can mix in just-for-fun content, but I think it’s especially important for those in less-than-captivating lines of work.
If you’re still finding your company’s authentic voice and need some help along the way, contact Parklife today. We’ve helped many clients successfully craft authentic content, and we’d love to do the same for you.