3 Ways to Use Authenticity to Build Customer Loyalty

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In recent years, the word authenticity has become smart marketing’s approach to building customer loyalty, and with good reason.

The truth is, people are tired of companies churning out perfectly polished branding, well-crafted press releases, and corporate statements that sound like a publicist. They are tired of some companies turning a blind eye to the reality of their business (toxic workplaces, unfair wages, and poor working conditions for factory workers), or for that matter, lying about it.

In fact, customers have become more savvy, more sassy, ​​and more vocal about what they expect (and often demand) from brands these days. This is one of the compelling reasons why smart brands embrace authenticity, rather than relying on it as a last resort.

As Amazon founder Jeff Bezos says, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” To help you create a more influential brand that people rave about (instead of rant about), here are some helpful tips to consider when planning marketing and communications campaigns.

Whether you’re starting a business or have been in business for decades, here are three ways to use authenticity to build customer loyalty right now.

Related: Why Authenticity Is a Key Ingredient to Entrepreneurial Success and How to Make Sure You Have It

Build customer trust

For starters, authenticity inherently breeds trust. When customers have a better idea of ​​the types of people who run a business, they begin to trust them more. Whether the message is coming from a brand founder or a social media marketing team, one of the keys to building trust among your customer base is being open, honest, and transparent with them. Express your values, show your integrity and share your beliefs in a way that reflects your brand identity.

For example, if you produce goods, consider posting Instagram Stories that take your audience on a “behind the scenes” tour of your factory. Show your customers that the factory has been audited for social responsibility and meets standards (for fair treatment of workers and safe working conditions). These are just some of the things consumers are concerned about, as human rights have become something customers consider when deciding which brands to support.

Related: Seven Ways to Build Consumer Confidence Naturally

Create deeper connections

Another way to use authenticity in your marketing approach is to think about human interaction.

Every time your brand launches a marketing campaign, posts on social media, or interacts with customers online, focus on building deeper connections with them. They want to know that you care about their needs, listen to their complaints, and appreciate their feedback.

In previous decades, companies sold to consumers like a one-way street. More often than not, their management teams hid behind FAQ pages on websites and relied on call centers protected by 1-800 numbers. But, nowadays, everyone is basically a click away. This means the power has shifted to giving customers a louder voice (which can be an asset or a liability for you, depending on what they say about your brand).

Smart brands use social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to actively engage with their audience. Instead of just constantly promoting and selling, their teams make sure to respond to comments and questions, respond to angry complaints, and even spotlight enthusiastic fans (which makes them feel valued and recognized) . As in any relationship, both parties need to feel valued and heard. So think of your online marketing approach as a two-way conversation, which will create deeper connections and more loyal customers.

Evoke a sense of humanity

Finally, when you focus on authenticity at the heart of your marketing efforts, you evoke a sense of humanity. Whether your company donates funds to charity or actively supports worthy causes, brands that care about humanity often reach higher in the eyes of consumers than those that are purely profit-driven. A perfect example of this is TOMS, the footwear brand that has gained strong brand loyalty through its philanthropic business model.

Authenticity has become one of the most important aspects to incorporate into any marketing and communication strategy. The more you can connect, listen and build relationships with your customer base, the more loyal they will be. And this, we know, is one of the keys to a sustainable business.

Related: Your reputation is a measurable and valuable asset

Joseph P. Harris