We all know that brand authenticity is important, but understanding it and knowing what to do to improve it is a different story. Whether you want to know this or not, your customers are subconsciously judging you with everything you sell and the way you market it.
All companies come from different places in the public eye. It’s a forever changing phenomenon that will continue to baffle CEOs across the globe. There is a method to all this “brand madness,” and it comes in the name of customer service.
Sorry to disappoint you, but there isn’t anything fancy about brand authenticity. It’s whether or not you can be who you say you are to your customers. If you fail at that you’re doomed, so if your business is in trouble quit while you’re ahead or follow what Domino’s Pizza did.
Building your brand hinges on the ability to be consistent and transparent throughout your company. What does your company stand for? Why aren’t you leading the charge against your competition?
With the information available, I created this article to clear the sea of information on brand authenticity to provide a clear path to improving it every quarter from now on.
What is Brand Authenticity?
Brand Authenticity is how well your company represents the morals, values, and mission that you publicly portray.
If you look at the way consumers purchase products these days, you’ll know that to the degree your company’s success hangs on its ability to represent itself. Brand authenticity is of course not the only thing that matters.
Having the best features, benefits and providing an answer for your customer’s needs are still the top factors, but without brand authenticity, you’ll be dead in the water. Consider it the fourth leg if your business was a chair. Later, we’ll discuss how to make your business as authentic as possible, but for now, we still need to dispel the myths of it.
Does it Even Exist?
Many people still debate whether brand authenticity is real or not. They actually debate whether it exists like it’s some kind of esoteric jargon used to confuse people and sell books. If you look at the definition above though and still think your business can do without being authentic you’ll be unpleasantly surprised in the coming quarters.
For proof, that rehabbing your brand authenticity is real and very much a factor to your stock price and revenue please read the case study that follows. This company experienced massive growth after their rebuild and you can too if you follow these steps.
The Best Example of Brand Authenticity
Domino’s Pizza is the model all companies should follow for brand authenticity. After a decade of declining customer perception, they faced almost complete destruction after some employees recorded themselves doing awful things to a pizza before delivering it.
I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t a fan of Dominoes pizza, but every now and then I would get it if I didn’t want to pay a lot of money for a pizza. After they changed their brand authenticity, I started to really enjoy their pizza and their customer service. I hope it continues because they did a fantastic job.
Here’s what they did…
- They made their own videos to combat what their former employees did.
- They listened to their customers.
- Told everyone what they were doing to fix it.
- Executed their plan to perfection and documented everything on social media.
Watch this commercial to see what they did and then read the rest of the article to find out how to apply it your business.
Below are the five best things Domino’s Pizza did to rehabilitate their public image and stock price and you can too.
1. Transparency – Videos that Show Their Faults
All brand authenticity comes from your ability to be transparent about who you are and what you’re all about. If you’re hiding anything your business, you will struggle to get the traction you want because customers are experts at the “sniff” test. That’s the customer’s ability to discover when a company is being fake. P.S. Millennials excel at this the most, so if that’s your target market you should strive to 100% transparent at all times.
In the video above, Domino’s Pizza realized that the only way back to the top of their industry was to be as honest as possible. Admit that you lost your way, you messed up, and that you forgot about your number one interest, the customer.
Customers whether you like it or not want you brand authenticity to be real. They want to feel good about buying your product. Especially in a highly competitive industry like Domino’s Pizza is in. Being exactly who you say you are is paramount to the success of your company in this quarter and beyond.
Many businesses would have gone bankrupt after a catastrophic event like they experienced, but Domino’s being the great marketing company that they are, knew the way back was through honesty and being transparent while they document their path back to success.
Pro Tip: Visual content makes it much easier to be transparent.
2. Careful Planning – Using the Customer’s Input for Guidance
In the video, you can see the customer focus groups, where they asked customers to talk about their experience with the pizza. They talked about the product being subpar and waiting forever on deliveries. With the disconnect between the higher ups and the actual management of the stores themselves, people became quite vocal about specific things in these focus groups.
What Domino’s did was genius. They filmed the customer’s comments in video and used them in the commercial to show that Domino’s is listening and is going to fix these issues. They got down and dirty to ensure the customer’s needs came before the bottom line.
Here is the result of all that great customer-focused strategy, content creation, and execution.
The red line indicates where the stock price was when the incident occurred, April 2009. Domino’s released their response commercial in December 2009. Do you still think brand authenticity is a myth?
3. Execution – Customer-First Approach
All of the focus groups, commercials, and social media means nothing if it’s not backed up with real execution. To ensure their customers were satisfied, the upper management decided to take the company by the reigns and reshape the public’s perspective in a matter of a few years.
Do you know what it will take for your brand?
Maybe it means when your customer gets a product that doesn’t work properly you send them another one instantly and then fix it your spare time. It could mean that the manager delivers it personally and apologizes to the customer upon delivery.
What it takes for one brand to succeed at customer service is different for everyone. If your company is failing or struggling to make its monthly quota you need to make sure your brand authenticity is in check.
4. Brand Authenticity Audit
Here are some ways to check if your company is telling its story correctly and executing it to create the right customer reactions.
First, check the copywriting of all your ads, blogs, websites, etc. If there is anything that sounds cheesy or arrogant remove it immediately then hire a copywriter to represent your brand the way it’s supposed to be. A customer-focused organization values the business you have.
One way to really screw up your brand authenticity is with AI marketing. Spambots are the quickest way to annoy your customers. They may help you in the short-term, but they will kill future quarters if misused.
It may take some time to find the right copywriter, but until then use your gut. What you’re looking for is simplicity so a 3rd grader can understand what you do.
Never make your messaging too complex. If you break it down to its core usually it’s about helping people do something. If you stick to that your brand will always look good.
It Could Be Your Product
Get a full overview of the consumer reviews on your product. Are the reviews favorable? They should be because the writers typically use the product when they write a review. If there is a lack of reviews about your product that can also be a sign that you’re product needs improvements.
These days there are so many people on YouTube and blogs trying to make a living reviewing products. If your competitors are being showcased and your product isn’t there is probably something wrong with yours.
Customer Reviews Are Gold
Lastly, check the reviews on Google My Business, Amazon, in Facebook groups, etc. If your company is not getting at least 4 out of 5 stars then you’re in trouble. If it’s an app you need to check Google play and the Itunes store.
Yes, many of the reviews are worthless, but read the ones that people put time into writing. If they are coherently written and give specific instances of brand authenticity related issues then you’ll have a great starting point when you begin to rehab your company’s image.
5. Keep it Simple
Too many times companies make their brand into a spectacle of sorts. It’s not necessary in most cases. Yes, you do need to be a little noisy, but you shouldn’t ever be annoying.
If you solve a problem for your customers it’s best to showcase your ability to solve that issue and leave it at that. Most customers don’t want to be bombarded by noisy ads and commercials trying to make up for the wrongs of the past. All you need to do is be honest and have patience.
In America, consumers love to forgive companies with a rocky past. If they do the right things to set the stage for a comeback the consumers will be behind them full-throttle when the new plan of action is unveiled and executed to perfection. Even if you screw up on your way back to the top you can still make up for it with a great product, marketing, and customer service.
For more information on building your brand identity check out this article.