USP Creative

The power of authenticity, and the reward for being real

13/06/2017
Stand Out

So we’ve now had a further lesson in marketing from the world of politics. First Brexit and Trump reminded us of the power of emotion over reason. Now the Labour Party reminds us of the absolute critical nature of authenticity.

Jeremy Corbyn has been a polarising figure since coming to national prominence during his bid for leadership of the Labour Party. Despite not winning last week’s election he has in fact become a real winner in the eyes of the British public.  Love him or loathe him, one thing Jeremy Corbyn is without doubt is human and authentic. This is what has won over swathes of voters from across the demographic spectrum, and brought about a political engagement not seen in Britain for some time.  (If ever?)

This is a valuable reminder for marketeers that brands must have absolute authenticity to succeed. Your brand is now your reputation, but the problem is that you don’t own your reputation. Your clients/customers and your employees do.  We now live in a digital world where millions of potential customers and clients are hearing real time reviews of what we do, and how we behave. Brands are no longer built by voices shouting the loudest, but by generating the right conversations. Today we must earn respect and loyalty through authentic relationships and fully delivered promises. Social media leaves nowhere to hide, no skeletons in closets and no bad behaviour unexposed.

This brings both good and bad news. Where historically the marketing department was responsible for pushing the brand, it is now the responsibility of the whole organisation. The brand has become a cultural agenda, which you invite your market to align to. And as the old adage goes, culture eats strategy for breakfast.

To achieve and maintain a strong and mutually rewarding relationship with clients/consumers, brands must:

  • Have a clear, motivating purpose
  • Deliver on that purpose
  • Not behave in any way which in in contrast to/does not deliver on that purpose
  • Ensure that all areas of the business understand expected brand behaviours and real tangible examples of what that means in their position.

Let’s not over-intellectualise this, after all, being human and honest is what we should all be focused on anyway – in or outside of business. The challenge is delivering that via a whole organisation.

So while we wait and watch to see the longer term effects of this election I will leave you with the simplest but perhaps most prolific call to action for authenticity from Dolly Parton: “figure out who you are, and then do it on purpose!”