Date of publication:

27 Apr. 24

Brand Authenticity in Marketing

Most modern brands, striving not to get lost in the sea of competitors, emphasize “authenticity”. To achieve this goal, it is necessary to pay close attention to developing one’s own image and positioning. Overall, brand authenticity not only helps attract attention but also retain existing customers. All of this significantly influences the long-term success of the company. Regardless of the specific product or service the brand offers to consumers, the more genuine, natural, and unique they are, the more likely the target audience will take notice. And not only will they take notice but also help achieve the primary goal of marketing — generating profit from product sales.

What Brand Can Be Called Authentic

The definition of brand authenticity can be formulated by knowing that this word comes from the Greek «authentikos» and means «genuine», «principal». Modern brands striving to stand out among the extraordinary attempt to prove the uniqueness of their product in various ways. These include:

  • creating secret recipes;
  • emphasizing the naturalness of the product;
  • highlighting the connection with traditions.

Several years ago, an international team of researchers worked on establishing the characteristics of a brand that make it authentic in the eyes of consumers. Based on the results of the research, experts developed a «brand authenticity perception scale». In their opinion, it is determined by:

  • Honesty — responsibility for words and actions, genuine concern for customers.
  • Credibility — the ability to inspire trust in consumers.
  • Self-consistency — motivation not to change and the development of this quality in brand advocates.
  • Consistency — adherence to principles regardless of circumstances.

Thus, brand authenticity can be characterized as the ability to be sincere and honest with the audience and oneself, as well as to maintain fidelity to one’s values and mission.

How To Communicate Authenticity To The Target Audience

It is not enough for a brand to possess authenticity. It is necessary to convey the message about it to consumers. Typically, companies use several channels to inform the consumer audience about their authenticity. To do this, they employ:

  1. Atmosphere, logos, and image. A close connection with its own history and the role that the brand plays in the lives of local consumers is one of the key values of the brand.
  2. Packaging and design. Authenticity is often associated with naturalness, so product brands that call themselves genuine and environmentally friendly use packaging that allows consumers to visually verify this.
  3. Promotion. Full compliance of words with deeds is an important principle of promoting brands that claim authenticity.

Atmosphere, Logos, And Image As A Means Of Demonstrating Authenticity

A close connection with its own history and the role that the brand plays in the lives of local consumers is one of the key values of the brand. For example, Levi’s — one of America’s main brand symbols — uses every opportunity to remind people of its worthy past. Specifically, they still stitch the famous «V» sewn with a double chain stitch on the back pockets, and on the waist of jeans, there is a logo with horses tearing a pair of denim trousers. Typically, brands update their logos very cautiously and not too radically, as the elements of the brand’s style are among the most significant values of any trade name.

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Atmosphere is also important. This is especially true for large supermarket or restaurant chains. Customers need to recognize not only the logo, for example, McDonald’s, but also visiting establishments in cities around the world, experience the same feelings, and immerse themselves in an identical atmosphere.

How Design And Packaging Influence Authenticity Formation

One way companies declare their authenticity is through distinctive, recognizable product packaging and creative design. The concept of authenticity is often associated with naturalness. Companies prove their «genuineness» effectively, as illustrated by food product brands, which often employ a straightforward yet effective approach. They place their products in cardboard packaging with transparent inserts to display the contents. Brands often choose:

  • simple design;
  • brown paper reminiscent of buyers’ childhood;
  • clear, sometimes retro-style font;
  • warm colors.

Such unobtrusive, almost primitive packaging demonstrates to the consumer that the focus remains on the product, while the other attributes are merely a natural, comfortable backdrop. A customer who sees such simple packaging subconsciously associates the product with homely warmth, something delicious and authentic, which is the goal of the brand.

Promotion As A Key Principle Of Authenticity

Full alignment of words with deeds is one of the key principles of promoting authentic brands. What the company communicates to its consumers should not contradict its real actions. Otherwise, the brand’s authenticity could be significantly damaged. For example, if a snack brand like KitKat suddenly started advocating for complex family dinners, trust in it would diminish considerably because its key message and real actions would be completely incongruent. A smart move in favor of brand authenticity could be openness and acknowledgment of its imperfection. Consumers tend to react favorably to efforts to improve, and value them more than the original perfection.

To emphasize their authenticity, some companies focus on the product’s place of origin in their naming. For example, on coffee blend packages, Starbucks may indicate the region where the coffee beans were grown (Starbucks Dark Sumatra or Starbucks Reserve Organic Galápagos). Similarly, the Ukrainian brand «Globino», which brings together food industry enterprises, indicates the location of its main office and most of its production.

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What Can Be Done To Strengthen Brand Authenticity

The fight for authenticity is one where «you can’t spoil the porridge with butter», and there can never be too many confirmations of genuineness. Therefore, even if a company can position itself as authentic, it won’t hurt to take additional measures to reinforce this impression among consumers. To demonstrate brand authenticity, it is worth constantly showcasing openness — publishing recipes used in production, discussing intricacies of the manufacturing process, and the technologies employed.

It is also important to demonstrate the ability to fulfill promises. When setting ecological, social, or any other significant goals for the company, it is imperative to inform consumers about them, detailing the ways they are being achieved.

A brand should always strive to expand its horizons. Despite the possibility of initial negative consequences, creating new business directions for authenticity, expansion, and meeting consumer demands is difficult to overestimate. Moreover, growth doesn’t always compromise a brand’s originality. The key is not to deviate from its traditions and core values. Companies should attempt to involve their consumers in their company’s life, reaching out for assistance. Generally, people tend to like those whom they have helped.

Set big goals for yourself, building a world in which you yourself would like to live. Any artificially created image will quickly be identified by consumers, and the company will lose their loyalty and trust. In this case, there can be no talk of authenticity.

Why Brand Authenticity Matters: Conclusions

Consumers are increasingly choosing authentic brands. When a company demonstrates honesty and uniqueness, trust is established with consumers. Authenticity is one of the most important brand characteristics in marketing because it’s crucial to stand out in an overcrowded market. Authenticity reveals the brand’s uniqueness, enabling the formation of long-term, strong connections with consumers seeking exclusivity.

Authentic companies are resilient to changes because they are based on clear values and principles and can better adapt without losing their core identity. Such a strategy can be incredibly useful in times of crisis or conflict, where consumer trust primarily supports its positive reputation in consumer perception.

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