By Bernadette Butler, CEO and Co-founder of StoryTap
We often tell people to be themselves, shouldn’t the same apply to brands? Consumers want perfect products and services, and marketers always aim to deliver them. But those same consumers seem less interested in the types of over-the-top, slick and polished advertising marketers sometimes push out in an effort to get them to purchase. In fact, consumers are interested in brands that show up, state their purpose and back it up with proof. Those brands and marketers who understand the value of being real with their consumers will thrive in a world where consumers’ needs continue to evolve.
What It Means to Create Relevant Authenticity
For brands, the marketing term “authenticity” used to mean putting text reviews on their sites for social proof of one’s commitment to consumers and their honest feedback. Then a brand would hire a moderation team to carefully scrub the unsightly from its web pages. Today the demand for transparency and truth is higher. Consumers are hip to the fact that a percentage of text reviews are fake and modified, leading them to run to YouTube and Google in search of real reviews about a specific brand or product and most importantly, ‘see’ it in action. They want to know how the products work in a relevant scenario to them. Thus, brands can no longer simply provide authenticity but a rather relevant authenticity to their audiences.
So, Tell Me How You Really Feel
As working professionals, we love the idea of honest feedback; we should give consumers the same courtesy. By giving customers the opportunity to visually share their honest opinions on the products, services and on the brands themselves, brands create value for their consumers. In the process, they may even be pleasantly surprised by what their consumers have to say. For a brand, asking consumers to share their thoughts means giving up some control over its marketing and perception. Text reviews have scarred them. However, customer-generated video stories like reviews, are more personal and usually, positive. Through these personal stories, consumers can not only express their views on certain products and services but can demonstrate how they use them. Visual stories enhance marketing efforts, sales and overall product and service insights.
I want to Buy From People Like Me
Word of mouth has proven to be one of the best marketing strategies. Yes, branding is important as is the marketing and advertising that supports it. However, people don’t want to simply buy from a brand, they want to buy from people they trust; people who are like them.
A good marketer, armed with a few interviews and research, can build an ICP (Ideal customer profile) in their sleep. Traditionally, ICPs work as a way to build relevant marketing campaigns. However, technologies that enable authentic video stories mean that for the first time, marketers can actually deliver that exponentially. As people, we are highly influenced by people who are similar to us – those who live in the same places as us, those who are the same gender, ethnicity, age or a combo. It’s not easy to build brand trust, but the secret sauce for any marketer today is with authentic video stories that are relevant, and recorded by real people, like customers.
Authenticity is thrown around quite often in the brand conversation. How can you shape your brand into one that embodies ‘real’ and ‘authentic’? Brands can do it by resisting the urge to over-brand and put their real customers at the center of marketing, authentically by giving them a (video) voice. Through real consumer video stories, brands will find that their path toward relevant and true authenticity is much faster than they think.