The words “authentic marketing” have been widely overused for the past half-decade. If you do a quick Google search, you’ll find articles from as far back as 2008 on the topic. Despite this, the authenticity theme continues to show itself in marketing campaigns today – and I’m not so sure it’s a trend that’s going anywhere. In fact, I think it’s the future of marketing. If you really start looking, you’ll notice authentic campaigns are winning over audiences and winning awards left right and center.
Examples of brands that have pulled off authenticity in their campaigns:
- Always’ Throw like a girl Campaign – Celebrating Girls
- Tom Shoes – Celebrating the freedom to protect your feet no matter where you live
- Molson Canadian – Passport Fridge – Celebrating Canadian Pride
This is a chance for marketers to redeem themselves. It’s not news that marketing has a reputation for being manipulative, misleading and/or dishonest:
Marketing by nature isn’t authentic, at least by the dictionary definition. Brands try to position themselves in the best light, omitting any details that may be bad for their image and do everything they can to woo consumers.
The original ‘idea’ of authenticity was essentially a way for corporations to attempt to not sound corporate in their marketing efforts — or at the very least to stay true to their essence.
The movement towards more honest and authentic campaigns holds marketers and brands more accountable, and gives them an opportunity to prove that they can market in a genuine way. And better yet, they’re no longer fighting against the grain – there is an increasing demand for brands to be more accountable for what they say, portray and communicate. Just check out the YouTube views from the examples I listed above. For marketers, there is significantly less risk than ever before in exploring a more honest way of marketing. Many have paved the way for us already.
THE BENEFITS OF AUDIENCES CRAVING AUTHENTICITY
The desire for accountability from audiences allows marketers to have real-time feedback on the effectiveness and the authenticity of a campaign. With multiple forums for both discussion and reviews, marketers are now privy to instant feedback. An open forum allows for a continual dialogue and more honest reactions and opinions being shared directly with brands and their marketers. And with trolls and evangelists behind all different types of causes, marketers and organizations are sure to hear from their worst and best critics.
One of the biggest benefits of authenticity in marketing is the opportunity for organizations to have some self-reflection about their roots and core values. By looking within themselves and sharing their organization’s true authentic self, it will attract fans and followers alike. Instead of conforming to the latest industry trend, we’re moving towards a future where we’re celebrating people’s authentic selves. That is something to rejoice.
HOW TO AVOID BEING INAUTHENTIC WITH YOUR BRANDING
- Does the campaign reflect your core company values?
- Does it celebrate who you are as a company and /or your values?
- Does supporting a cause or educating the public on a group in need have any previous association with your organization? If no, it’s probably does not authentically represent your organization.
A failed attempt at an authentic campaign by an organization was a flub by Samsung. Their latest campaign is an app for autistic children. As an Adweek article put it, “Samsung’s work suffers from the notable distinction that it comes from a marketer, rather than a non-profit—while the consumer tech giant claims the point isn’t to promote its products, that is of course, in part, exactly the point.” (source)
If Samsung had been reflecting learning or education for autistic children or children with learning disabilities in their core values, then it would have been authentic. It feels more like a marketing ploy than a genuine gesture. However, the article does end off with a good point, Samsung and their marketing company deserve credit for contributing to a good cause.
At the end of the day, the authenticity trend is good for all parties involved and there doesn’t seem to be any reason why it shouldn’t continue – it’s a win-win and a chance for marketers to gain a positive reputation back.
Header Photo: Unsplash
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