We Need To Be 100% Believable Brands
The messages we deliver to our audiences have to be believable to our overall story.
Authenticity is a key factor for a business to be accepted. Everything that we stand behind has to be convincing for others to understand that we represent trusted and credible brands.
Easier To Shout & Scream
It is easier than ever to self proclaim that we are experts in our marketplace and then promote that our businesses have a responsibility for the communities that we are part of. Eventually it comes across as an empty promise filled with PR helium. As businesses we need to create the whole package rather than standing to the side and observing what everyone else is doing.
The Believable Brands
The case for transparency and track record is now becoming more apparent. We only need to look at Innocent Drinks promise that 10% of business profits are to be given to charity and their current ‘Tastes good does good’ campaign shifts from the product to a more emotional message on the work that the company delivers.
Fashion retailer H&M has been surrounded by allegations for many years about overseas working conditions, but has now been recognised as one of the world’s most ethical companies for 2014 (according to Ethisphere). Backing up a more honourable approach, H&M launched in April the new Conscious fashion line including items produced from organic leather and silk, along with other sustainable and recycled materials. The approach for the business is that the H&M operation acknowledges that it needs to be run in a socially and environmentally sound way.
Whilst many may not necessarily be converted short term to H&M bringing a revolutionary mindset as it looks to solve it’s labour rights issues, what it shows is that with any brand to succeed a new attitude needs to be embraced.
Customers are at the heart of everything that we do and if they are aware that the reason for the existence of our businesses is to try and shape a better place not only for the spaces we work within but the people that we work with and to stay close to the communities that we are part of, which doesn’t necessarily need market research to understand what people want. This is not about a campaign, it’s all about an ongoing effort to listen, adapt, support and create value to those who make meaning out of what you do.
Belief In Community
The companies that have a long-term view are those who think about community and drive an audience who share a passion and a belief. This can either be the roll call of brands that we’re well aware of such as Apple, Harley Davidson, Red Bull, Starbucks and Nike but also the small businesses who create something that we want to be part of. For instance, my local area is fortunate enough to have a number of independent coffee shops, but the one I always choose is the coffee shop that knows what I have to drink when I pop in and also there to recommend which coffee beans would be worth a try. I believe that they know their coffee and when they do it with meaning and genuine interest, I’m a customer who is there for the journey (no matter how many other coffee shops may appear over the coming months).
As companies we need to live and breathe what we do. It’s worthless to treat what we do as ‘a job.’ For others to buy in, we have to deeply understand their perspective. It’s been a tough few years for all of us but we still have to support the spaces that we represent and deliver tangible and emotional value to others. It’s pointless declaring on Twitter or LinkedIn that you are proud to support an initiative and all it represents is a short-term goal to an overall PR initiative.
A New Take On Things
Sometimes we need a fresh perspective to see what we are doing. We may believe that we represent an authentic message, but underneath the surface the same pair of eyes still see the same flaws, day in, day out. This is where the merit of sometimes outsourcing a marketing and communication audit can plays it part to give structure and overall strategy. But hey…I’ll leave that to the contact us page!
For us all to create believable brands here’s eight takeaways:
- Experiences are created that can’t be associated with another product or service
- Consumers trust brands that stand for something
- PR on a charm offensive to buy favour, doesn’t work anymore
- Value needs to be created and consistently delivered
- We need to become honest and truthful
- We learn to become more social and not hide behind a digital persona
- Become relevant to others to encourage engagement
The whole shape for our messages when we become more believable starts to become more slanted about the experience others have, rather than the product or service you sell. While the majority still sit within their product driven worlds, why not champion the authentic brand you represent and believe in.