Consumers today, have more choices than ever before. Eighty-eight percent of buyers do their research online before they look to engage with a human representative.
Because of easy access to information, most consumers have high expectations from brands. They can easily figure out fake promises from real ones. Plus, it’s easy for them to express their opinion online on Google, Facebook, and Twitter, and bring down a reputation.
Marketing leaders need to make sure that brand messages are as honest, trustworthy, and personal as possible.
Let’s look at some of the key qualities of authentic marketing.
Brands use multiple channels to interact with prospects and customers. Marketers must ensure that the brand narrative is consistent across channels and customer touchpoints. Even a simple email from a customer care representative should carry the voice of the brand.
A study by Lucidpress reveals that the greatest negative impact of inconsistent brand usage is the creation of confusion in the market.
And besides, a vital part of honesty is to offer quality products and services.
For instance, successful brands like Apple, Disney, Ferrari, and Heinz have been built through consistent customer experiences in terms of product quality and brand communication.
Customer delight is a natural outcome when brands are transparent and honest about their intent and vision to provide real value to customers.
The Right Influencer Associations
Branded content is something that a lot of consumers don’t buy into — they’re often inclined to follow the industry thought-leaders and influencers. The reason is simple: influencers are seen as educators who’re not looking to sell products.
Marketers should be careful and pick influencers who have similar values and appeal to the target audience.
Sixty-four percent of consumers who have established a relationship with a brand cite "shared values" as the main reason for that relationship, according to Harward Business Review.
You need to tread carefully and map potential risks while kicking off influencer marketing programs.
- It’s critical to analyze an influencer’s engagement level and the nature of conversations.
- Is the influencer a thought-leader in your niche? Does the influencer have genuine followers?
Collaboration with influencers who’ve already built a reputation is a step in the right direction.
Integrated Social Responsibility
Studies reveal that many companies do-not integrate corporate social responsibility with their core business; rather they see CSR as additional initiatives.
The right way forward is to understand the importance of building a socially responsible business model. CSR is not about a project or a campaign anymore; it’s about a brand’s commitment towards larger social well-being.
Studies show that 63% of consumers prefer to purchase from purpose-driven companies and the same percentage expect brands to take a stand on social, cultural, environmental, and political issues they care about.
For example, Method, a personal care brand, uses natural ingredients to manufacture safe and environment-friendly cleaning products.
Companies and marketers who work on building socially conscious business models are likely to attract loyal customers.
While artificial intelligence is making it possible for brands to offer superior, more productive customer experiences, adding a human touch is necessary for building strong emotional connections.
“Marketers are moving from an era where the best product almost always won to the current state of affairs, where the best customer experience (CX) almost always wins,” says Brian Halligan, CEO of HubSpot.
It’s vital to get a customer to speak to a sales representative and not a bot if called upon to do so.
About 70% of the consumers surveyed about their customer service preferences said they would rather speak to a human customer representative.
The onus is on marketers to understand that brand experiences and messages don’t have to be robotic. It’s necessary to know that you can’t treat customers like money-making tools — they're looking for respect and psychological gratification while making a purchase.
In times when technology is taking center-stage, intelligent marketers will put humanity at the forefront of CX and work towards what matters most — customer satisfaction.
Trustworthy Online Reputation
Having a great online reputation isn’t just about showcasing your business in a good light through positive reviews, public relations, and interesting content.
It’s about making sure your business is achieving higher standards in terms of actual customer service and experience.
Embracing honest customer reviews is a way to validate what you have done right and where is it that you’re going wrong. It gives the team a sense of confidence and direction.
Online reviews should be used for gathering customer insights for improving products and services, not just for showcasing goodwill.
Intelligent marketers create processes to reply to negative reviews. They create mechanisms to compensate and appease dissatisfied customers.
A brand that sees online criticism in a positive light and works on its shortfalls ends up with longer-term appreciation and trust from its customers.
There are many occasions when employees are at the forefront of a brand’s customer experience. Employee alignment to brand goals infuses a team with a sense of purpose and motivates employees to showcase their best.
For instance, Chobani, the Greek yogurt brand, hires those who believe in the company’s philosophy of good health and well-being. The company works on a profit-sharing model with its employees, a strategy that makes them take ownership of the business.
Intelligent marketers conduct brand orientations with internal stakeholders to ensure optimum external messaging and customer experiences.
Businesses and teams who truly live a brand are the ones who’re able to create consistent and impactful customer experiences.