"Authenticity requires a certain measure of vulnerability, transparency, and integrity."
~ Janet Louise Stephenson
Today I'm going to take a detour from '6 Simple Types of Video to Showcase Your Business', to talk about something that's been popping up a bit lately. Just in general life, and interactions with clients as well as what's been floating around in the big and often overwhelming world of business and marketing...AUTHENTICITY.
This word just keeps jumping out at me and like many other words, it's being used more and more. I'm seeing this word used generously in marketing, and I myself use this word in my own marketing. But it's one of those words that gets bandied about so often and we see it used over and over again as the latest 'fad' in marketing, that it loses it's ability to shine and to offer us the depth and significance that the word truly implies. But that observation doesn't discount the fact that we need to be looking at authenticity as part of our own personal and business development. And how if we want truly want to grow our businesses, we need to ensure that AUTHENTICITY forms an important part of our core values - business, as well as personal.
So what is 'Authenticity' and how do you create an atmosphere of authenticity in your own business?
The definition of Authentic according to Miriam-Webster dictionary, is "True to one's own personal, spirit or character - sincere and authentic with no pretensions", and "not false or imitation: real, actual". So as much we need to be talking about that in our marketing, we also need to ensure that what we do speaks louder than what we say. I'll repeat that...we need to ensure that what we DO speaks louder than what we SAY.
I think it takes a certain amount of courage to be authentic. How often is it, that when you engage with your customers, regardless of how good your relationship is, you can sometimes experience challenges, doubts, and uncertainties during your dealings with them? These are moments when your courage to be authentic, both as you genuinely consider the needs of your customers and also your need to bring value to your business, can be truly tested. But having the courage to do so also provides the opportunity to build a stronger relationship and set that all important foundation of trust. Because without trust, we can't progress our businesses. And as we know, trust is hard to establish, but so easy to lose.
Authenticity is also not just about what we do and say, but it comes through in the visual messages that our customers see across all our platforms. Have a look at your visuals...the images, the colours you use...the style of fonts, and how you bring all these elements together. Is there are commonality? Do they have a similar look and feel? What about your photos? Your head shots (if you have any), your stock photos and graphics - do they imply a certain message? What do they stand for and does what they stand for align with your core values and reflect your personal and or business brand?
If your words speak corporate and professional, but your visuals and behaviours smack of anything but, you're going to lose the trust of the people you're wanting to attract, because there will be a mismatch between the message you're implying and the actual message that's being received. This then comes across as being 'false' and people get a feeling of something not being quite right.
I believe that authenticity requires a high level of integrity, which is doing the right thing, regardless of the status quo and what others think is the right thing for you to do. I also think integrity is having a deep sense of responsibility and genuine care for others. It's about thinking of not just what is going to be in alignment with our own values, but what is going to ensure that our customer's needs and wants are being considered and that we also place value on that too.
But mostly, I think authenticity is about understanding what makes us uniquely qualified to offer something of value, and conveying a consistent and strong message, so that we then attract to our businesses other people who possess those same core values of transparency, integrity and trust.
So this week, think about the messages that you're putting out in your business, whether that be in person, online or otherwise. Do those messages convey authenticity? Do they reflect your unique offerings and are they aligned with your core values? Because there's always time and opportunity to work towards this in order to gain and build trust with your customers.
And if you're like to read a little more about authenticity in marketing, I found this great little article to help you called 'Why Authenticity in Marketing Matters Now More Than Ever'.
Next week we'll continue with the series '6 Simple Types of Video to Showcase Your Business' where we take a look at WHITEBOARD VIDEOS to create interest!
Ciao for now...
Kerry :) x