The Covid-19 pandemic changed the way consumers, businesses, and everyone in between look at the world and evaluate the authenticity of brands. The health crisis pulled back the curtain on issues like social justice, environmental sustainability, and ethical business practices, causing consumers to align with authentic brands that walk their talk.
With 90% of consumers indicating brand authenticity is an important factor when deciding which brands to support, it’s clear why businesses are re-evaluating how they come across in the market and in social discussions. Yet, with the evolving consumer mindset coming out of the pandemic, how can brands show up in a way that rings true to the core values of their customer base?
Let’s look at how purpose, social media, and keyword optimization are targeted approaches to maximizing brand authenticity.
Evaluating Brand Authenticity: Purpose Over Profit
The global pandemic spurred consumers to re-think who wins their business. In fact, one in four consumers walked away from brands that put their own self-interest first during the pandemic. Why? Because people want to be part of something bigger, and they’re looking for it in the brands they choose to identify with.
The move towards purpose-driven brand alignment was well underway before the health crisis that motivated more people to stay home and catch up on pressing social issues. According to a 2019 Deloitte study, businesses that put purpose first benefit from deeper customer connections and grow at a faster clip than their peers. Now, as the pandemic starts to wind down, brands that are seen as authentically living their purpose will likely get a bigger piece of the market pie.
Engaging, User-Generated Content Ignites Authenticity
Today, more than half of the world’s population uses social media, making it an essential platform to share information and connect with customers in the down-to-earth way they want. Sure, consumers can get to know the business through websites and other vehicles. However, those vehicles are meant to show the polished nature of the company. Social media gives businesses the opportunity to take off the filters and truly connect with consumers.
Companies with strong social media engagement also have a powerful advantage when it comes to brand authenticity. Enter: user-generated content. If you’re like the thousands of other consumers that are active on social networks, you tend to make purchases based on the recommendation of someone you trust. Whether it’s a shared post or product review, seeing others talk about your brand elevates its credibility – which is likely why 60% of consumers say UGC (user-generated content) is the most authentic form of content.
When it comes to social media authenticity, the same principles apply as they would across any other consumer touchpoint. Honesty, consistency, transparency, and integrity are the foundation that drives everything forward. In order for consumers to view your brand as authentic, they need to find it trustworthy. Modern consumers judge a business on its actions versus its statements.
Words Matter and Keywords Are… Key
In a sea of “we stand with you” posts, finding truly authentic brands can be challenging for consumers, but it doesn’t have to be. Every consumer touchpoint matters, and so does using the right words across your owned communication channels, like your website, blog, and social networks. Keyword and search engine optimization (SEO) is important for any brand looking to show up naturally. Brands must harness the power of words to organically attract the right audience and engage them with a solution that meets their needs.
One way businesses are bringing their true selves to the table is by using the right words at the right time with AI technology. Take Persado. The technology company uses machine learning models to generate natural, authentic language that resonates with customers. These technologies present new, secure ways to understand what stood out in past campaigns to better inform the voice of your brand going forward – this includes identifying keyword clusters that will get your content seen by the right people.
The opportunity for AI in marketing is sizable. Particularly considering that personalization at scale is expected to create $1.7-3 trillion in new value. If you’re ready for your easy-to-follow blueprint for adopting AI practices, like natural language generation, download Persado’s recent eBook, CMO’s Guide to AI for Customer-Centric Marketing. Or, click here to learn more about Persado’s AI-generated language platform that can help your business find consumers that align with your purpose.
Jasmine is the CEO of Jasmine Glasheen & Associates, a writer, thought leader, speaker, content strategist, a Leading Voice on LinkedIn, and a Vend Top 100 Retail Influencer. She is a frequent contributor to publications including The Robin Report, IBM, Sourcing Journal, and many other retail publications. Formerly contributing editor at RetailWire and content lead at Retail Minded, Jasmine knows how to create top-ranking thought leadership pieces that make an impact. Jasmine has run content amplification campaigns for IBM’s The Next Brick blog and has spoken about generational variances in purchasing behavior at Perry Ellis International, ASD, IRC, Halloween Expo, and more.