Essential Authenticity: Going beyond the buzzwords to achieve brand success
VistaCreate Live is a new project aimed at bringing real value to the VistaCreate community. In this series of exclusive interviews with field experts, we’ll provide you with full coverage of the expertise and experience you need in business, marketing, design, and other areas that are crucial for your journey.
Our first guest is Kimberly Tytyk — an organic content expert and entrepreneur. Kimberly collaborated with global brands such as Grammarly and MacKeeper. Now she has her own business that helps other companies grow by finding their authentic voice with engaging content.
We were excited to hear Kimberly’s fascinating story, discuss how to build a successful brand organically, and understand what authenticity means for today’s business.
Authenticity is the mixture of the internal and external
Authenticity is coherence between your internal preferences and motivations, and what you do externally. It’s this honesty between your internal self and the external projection of what’s happening inside. And when this coherence between motivation and execution is done well, it can truthfully build a human connection. Whatever your story is, one that resonates with people will allow them to gravitate towards you.
Authenticity highly depends on the first human experience
According to the touchpoints theory in marketing, you need to have 7 touchpoints with people, so that they buy your product or use your service. And human touch is the most important, the most decisive touchpoint for this. If a lot of people have a really good human interaction from their first experience, retention and all the other touchpoints become almost secondary. They’re not as important because that first impression was really profound. This is nothing new.
It makes it even more relative now because of the pandemic, and the fact that people don’t feel the same about connecting with each other in person. When we think about authenticity, it can be helpful to think about: how is this human, how does it represent me as a human, or our company and the humans in it?
To build authenticity, you need to understand your values. And it takes work.
The first part of authenticity for a business or person is to understand values. Looking at your core values and knowing what you stand for is very important. Those values pop up in the behaviors that you see around the office, or in the way you talk to each other. Distilling this, getting everybody on the same page, and turning it into the language you use to understand yourself and explain yourself to potential customers takes work.
This starts from a brand book where you outline your values, and have the message and language you use to capture those values. Then it goes beyond that in thoroughly identifying every point where customers are going to interact with your brand, and making it as human as possible. Every touchpoint has to be consistent in that messaging and the core values you have.
Companies that are good in authentic communications have consistency
Almost anyone who consumes something Disney-related awakens a warm, childlike innocence within them. Not everybody likes Apple, but it’s consistent, and they do a pretty good job. Patagonia is one more successful authentic brand that has been consistent for years with its messages on sustainability, improvement in the product lifecycle, and enjoyment in connection with nature.
Authentic content consistency is a long-term investment
One of the ways to create a really engaging ad campaign that is consistent with your values is to think about it as an investment portfolio. Consider your authentic content as your stocks. All of this is a marathon. There’s a huge pressure to have results immediately. You have to keep your nose down and work at it. There will come a time when something inevitably happens, and you will be grateful that you have that deep trust in your brand and business. We only started experiencing a snowball effect with organic growth on Grammarly in year three.
Combining efforts towards authenticity with efforts towards performance is challenging, but real
Striving to be authentic and striving for growth can be a little bit at odds. It’s more about finding the balance. Authenticity absolutely augments the effect of all other efforts. People don’t like ads. However, if you make an ad campaign and you have a really authentic on-brand ad, the effectiveness of this ad is significantly higher. And when it’s done really well, people actually find delight in these advertisements. They don’t dread them. So, you can still create click-worthy copy, more aggressive or experiential ad campaigns, and experiential marketing in general, and infuse that with your voice.
Authentic content can have a better future
There are some signs that things are going in the right direction. Google and Facebook have made modifications to their advertising requirements. In general, these trends have been to make ads more user-friendly and limit the amount of emotional hijacking that can happen through advertisements.
Fake authenticity: Is it possible?
Authenticity has become commoditized. There are some companies that will pay you lip service. Basically, they’ll lie to your face. But it will be really hard to genuinely fake authenticity because everything has to be consistent in every touchpoint. If it’s not your truth, those cracks are going to show themselves.
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