The purpose of authenticity in your branding is differentiation, and more importantly, disqualification. You specifically want to turn OFF the prospective clients right from the start that aren’t going to be a genuine and positive fit for your company. You won’t keep them anyway. The wrong clients won’t like working with you once they see who you really are, or worse, make you feel like you need to be a certain way that isn’t authentic for you. However, the right clients will LOVE working with you once they see who you really are, and better, they’ll make you feel safe to be 100% you at your very best and happiest in the truest sense, and you’ll ALL be happier for it.
Authenticity is a Universal Concept
Sound like a weird concept? I suppose it is, given what an inauthentic and plastic society we live in (and help to create). In chatting with a junior marketer recently, the poor guy blanched when I suggested that we polarize our audience in our marketing, and that we showcase our real selves. He couldn’t imagine a world where you WANT to turn people off, WANT to potentially upset people, or WANT to incite polar reactions in prospective clients. He thought (and to be fair, most people do) that you want to appeal to everyone and be as agreeable as possible. However, when we started talking about it in a way that was more instantly and universally relatable, it became clearer. The metaphor is simple: when you’re dating someone new, don’t you want to be as happy as possible, get to be yourself, and be adored and loved for 100% authentic you? Wouldn’t you hate having to pretend to be someone you’re not, or have to pretend to be excited about things or ways of being that aren’t important to you? Wouldn’t it be great to find out as early as possible in the relationship that it’s not a good fit – BEFORE you invest a lot of time and energy? Of course! And that’s when it clicked.
Authenticity Comes at a Price
In our case, the idea of being authentically ourselves comes with a price – and it will for you too. Short term, I sell less clients, on purpose. Good! Because long-term, I sell BETTER clients that I keep for longer, by being real from the get-go. Also, it helps us sell more because we get referred more to the RIGHT people. I want my clients to know that they’re getting a tough marketer out of the gate, that isn’t perfect but has tremendous ethics, that will fight HARD for their success, and will never back down. I want my clients to know that it’s OK to laugh with me and enjoy the relationship. I want my clients to know that I’m a real human being with thoughts and feelings, I have a twisted sense of humor that I will share at any opportunity, I appreciate a good dad joke, and I will throw down some whiskey with my client, all the while kicking ALL the ass in their marketing, staying up till midnight to do it if need be. I want them to know all that because I want to work with clients that appreciate and value all those things, and might want someone to appreciate who THEY are in their deepest, most authentic way possible in return.
Authenticity = Trust
Why does connecting on a real, authentic level matter so much? I suppose that’s a fair question. Professionalism traditionally dictates that you have your façade and you behave yourself. Meh. That’s so boring. Connecting on a real level is EVERYTHING because in so many fields, particularly mine, what I do is not binary. It’s not an “it’s working or it’s not” type of thing – there’s a million shades of gray. You NEED relationships, you need real connections because you need TRUST. Trust comes from honesty, truth, and getting to know people for real so you can speak the hard truths, you can admit when you’ve messed up (on the client side, or on the provider side), and you can partner together with so much ease and comfort and make things REALLY WORK, together.
You are Not a Commodity
In my world, marketing is the total opposite of binary. Things go right all the time, and things go wrong all the time. Things sometimes are difficult to decipher, and often they just require the long-term view, and all of those things require trust to navigate, interpret and correctly respond to. At the end of the day, authenticity breeds trust, and without trust and a real relationship, you’re just a commodity.
I am not a commodity, Vision Advertising is not a commodity, and neither are you or your company. I encourage you to be real. Turn the wrong people off. Sell less but sell better, and delight the RIGHT people! Be real, and earn the trust of your clients that NEED you to be a human and be honest with them at every turn, so they can feel safe with you.
Need some Help with Your Authenticity?
Do you need help with your brand’s voice? The experts at Vision Advertising would love to help you infuse some refreshing authenticity into your marketing to help you attract your ideal clients. We always offer complimentary consultations to explore the opportunities. Get in touch with us today and let’s see what’s possible!