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Communicating with Authenticity and Heart

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Whether its with friends, family, or at work, we strive to be our authentic selves. But how often do we think about the authenticity of our organization or company?

Through marketing, we communicate to the world the most important things about our organization: what we do, what we value, and who we are. As marketers, it’s our job to make our company’s message stand out against all the rest. In an age where people are being marketed to 24/7, what really gets people’s attention? Authenticity.

Good, authentic marketing is a true reflection of your organization’s values, offerings, and personality. And when it’s not — your audience call tell. People are savvy, and they know if marketing is misleading, condescending, or just plain not true.

Think of the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. The campaign garnered historic levels of attention precisely because it was challenging our current notions of female beauty standards. People were won over by the fact that the company was willing to do that. And it wasn’t without its drawbacks; all across the country there was a visceral backlash. But that ended up working in Dove’s favor – their ability to stand behind what they did showed how needed the campaign was in the first place and bolstered trust among their supporters.

This campaign, and others like it, is so impressive because it was a tool for creating positive change IN ADDITION to being a successful marketing strategy. Through authentic communication, you can challenge society’s dominant narratives and set yourself apart. And when people see you doing that, they feel inspired, they feel excited – they remember your name. They begin to trust you.

Taking an authentic approach to your marketing doesn’t have to involve a massive shift in strategy or launching a whole new campaign. There are plenty of ways to inject authenticity into your marketing and do a whole lot to win trust with your audience.

Name Your Values

This is a great place to start. What does your business stand for? List out your values and pick 5 that really embody the spirit of your organization. Make sure your marketing hearkens back to these.

Keep it Simple

One of the keys to authenticity is clear communication, and the key to clear communication is through simplicity. Overcomplicated messages go in one ear and out the other, figure out your core message and state it simply. Incorporating powerful visuals is another way to make your point clearly without weighing things down.

Think About Your Audience’s Emotional Experience

Your audience is made up of humans who have emotional experiences every day. Put yourself in their shoes. How do you want them to perceive your organization? And what feelings will help get them there? Emotional marketing lets your organization’s guard down, so to speak, and allows you to find genuine connections with your audience.

Flip the Narrative

Is your organization mission driven? Or is there a particular cause your company cares deeply about? Use your marketing as a tool to generate positive change. Think of the stories you can tell to inspire your audience or challenge their preconceived notions. Not only will these get and keep your audience’s attention, they will show them that you really care about an issue.

Be Charitable — With Money and Time

We all want to feel good about the businesses we patronize. Making donations to or volunteering for important causes shows that you care and that you do, in fact, walk the walk. Folks will see you as a good, compassionate organization who wants to make a difference, and they’ll be more likely to come to you as customers.

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