By now, everyone knows that being authentic and being true to your brand voice is one of the pillars of public relations, especially when connecting with your target audience. What does that mean, though? What makes a brand or person authentic?
Researchers on perceived brand authenticity define “brand authenticity” as:
“The extent to which consumers perceive a brand to be faithful toward itself, true to its consumers, motivated by caring and responsibility, and able to support consumers in being true to themselves.”
In order to demonstrate that they are true, caring and responsible, many brands and businesses choose to have a spokesperson or brand ambassador convey their message. It’s much easier for people to connect with another person as opposed to a faceless brand or logo, and it provides a much-needed human touch. However, if your spokesperson isn’t authentic, it could do you more harm than good.
So, how can your spokesperson foster authenticity? Here are some guidelines, based on my experience in coaching and consulting with clients on this very topic:
Speak plainly. Throw that business jargon out the window. Don’t make it hard for people to understand what you’re saying. A spokesperson who communicates clearly in plain language will earn the trust and respect of customers. One that is hard to follow or seems untrustworthy could negatively impact the brand.
Be honest. Let your spokesperson be honest about who they are. If they love your product/service and can show examples of how it helped them in their life or share appropriate hopes and fears related to the product, let them. Allow them to express their emotion as they relate to your product in a transparent way. This will build a connection with your audience and show that the brand is true to itself.
Tell the truth. If something negative happens, admit to the error, and lay out a plan to resolve the issue. Don’t try to cover up mistakes or play the blame game. Honesty is the best policy here, and it shows your customers you care. Expressing regret and letting your customers know they are valued and that it’s a priority to fix the issue will go a long way. Mistakes happen, but lying about them should never be an option.
Monitor language. Just because you want your spokesperson to be authentic doesn’t mean they shouldn’t choose their words carefully. It’s important that your spokesperson understands that while the goal is authenticity, it’s also a goal to put the best foot forward. Speaking negatively about other brands or using crude language and discriminatory statements should not be a part of the “authentic” experience.
Show personality. The whole point of having a real live human spokesperson is to be relatable. Let your spokesperson smile, laugh, make jokes, speak conversationally and show their personality. It makes them approachable. It makes them human, and that allows your customers to see themselves reflected in your spokesperson.
It’s time to start communicating with your audience. If your spokesperson keeps these tips for being authentic in mind, they’re sure to be a success!
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