Authenticity is in – traditional marketing is out. Keep customers rolling in by being you. Tell a story to grow your list. Make sure your brand has a purpose. We all recognize these phrases, because frankly we hear them consistently. The challenge is in the “how.”
How do you make sure that your brand has a voice that is authentic, resonates with prospects and customers, and tells your story in a truthful way?
The reality is that it’s not about a new idea, service, or product (although you want to make sure you get input from customers). It’s your take on an idea. Innovative thought processes are what people find interesting. They want something fun or that makes them think. Most of all, they are looking for brands that align with their belief system.
Of course, they want your brand to stand for something bigger. At this point, everyone knows you need to make money. They are just not interested in old sales tactics. At the end of the day it’s about knowing, liking and trusting the folks we do business with and believing they have our best interest at heart. You have to create demand for your brand!
Grow your business by going beyond the basics of communication and into developing a true culture around how your brand supports your employees, customers and stakeholders. Standing up for a purpose cultivates a caring persona that people are not only drawn to, but actually want to support by purchasing your products or services.
So how do you get to the authentic point of view? It starts with you as the leader, and then developing a foundation that supports genuine communication. To get started, answer the following questions:
The answer should not be simply to make money. What is it about your business that motivates you? You felt something, thought something, stood up and talked about something when you decided this was the business for you. What is it?
This answer should be more than “as a nice guy” or “to create lots of jobs for our community.” What is most important and how will your achievements be recognized? Will your company impact the community in a positive way? Do you have a legacy you want to leave behind? This delves into the bigger purpose, vision and mission of your organization.
This one really gets those wheels turning. It’s easy to get involved in the daily grind, making sure that business is moving forward, sales are increasing, and marketing is creating awareness. While these are critical components, does it change your industry in a positive way? So many industries have unpleasant practices that are still in place simply because “it’s the way it’s always been done.” What are you doing to challenge the status quo for the better?
How do I speak, write and act when I’m most comfortable? Am I bringing that person to my work? If not, why not? Do you find that you must be an entirely different person as the leader of your organization than you are at home? Is this environment conducive to creating an authentic culture that draws strong talent and life-long customers? People know when you are showing up as authentic versus playing a role. As the leader of an organization, if you want people to be authentic and true, well, then start with you!
This is not an easy question to answer, primarily because customers also suffer from metooitis. They have a desire, but not always the able to find the answer. If they knew how to solve that problem, they would have done it already. To place customers at the heart of your organization means really understanding how to solve problems – sometimes problems they do not even realize they have. The trick here is to really communicate. Put them first by letting them get to know you, your company, and why you are here. Answering the first four questions really helps. Deciding how you want to serve customers lays the foundation for everything you do. Great customer experiences service brings repeat business…period.
This is just the beginning, but it is a great start. We often get wrapped up in the day-to-day and forget why we wanted to have our own business in the first place. The desire to start a business usually comes from a place of passion. Tapping into that passion on a regular basis will ensure that you are able to develop a strong foundation for a positive culture. Empowering your team and caring for your customers will be a natural occurrence once you remember why you started this business in the first place.
Great content starts with giving your brand a positive voice. Now you will find it easy to give voice to your brand, creating great content that will showcase how you make a difference from a heart-centered place. The consistency of your messaging will also be easier, and you will see that it is easy to adapt to new channels, create great social media posts and really provide value!