11 Methods Brands Can Use to Convey Authenticity

In this increasingly digital world, many customers never get to meet the people that they do business with. This is especially true for online businesses. Without that face-to-face interaction, seeming authentic can be a hard thing to master. And inauthentic brands lose customers, fast.

To find out what works, we asked 12 members of the Young Entrepreneur Council for their best ideas for getting authenticity across to their customers. Specifically:

Q. When businesses are unable to meet their customers face-to-face, conveying authenticity can be a challenge. What’s one common barrier you have run into and how did you solve for it?

Their best answers are below:

1. Be Present for Customers

It’s challenging to be there for every customer and provide a face to the customer. However, we work to provide that by making each person available through real-time online messaging and video call capability. That way, the customer can see who they are talking to, and it builds greater trust. – Angela RuthCalendar

2. Try Buttoned-Up Branding

The way your company looks and feels to a new prospect carries weight. If you can’t be there in person to convey authenticity, anything that you show them matters even more. Showing them a professionally designed proposal, a trustworthy website, and having all of your branding buttoned-up is key to showing that you’re a credible company. – Joel MathewFortress Consulting Group

3. Use Video Conferencing

We commonly received the question of “How many people are on your team?” or “Where does everyone on your team work?” After moving around our sales and success teams and adding video to all our calls, we’ve found that our relationships with prospects and customers became much more authentic. We’re rarely asked these questions anymore because customers can see the office. – Michael AvertoChannelApe

4. Build a Brand Ambassador

We developed a company spokesperson who is experienced in our industry. That person develops content for us, conducts interviews and research in the industry, and is very active on social media. Having this known person as our “face” of our brand helps connect with users who otherwise would not know us. – Shawn SchulzeHomeArea.com

5. Look for Root Causes

Customers come to you with a particular problem in mind. But they don’t always realize the full scope of their challenges. In this case, you can demonstrate authenticity by breaking down their situation and looking at the root cause of their pain. Then, tackle the issue directly, making it obvious that your business is committed to customer success. – Firas KittanehAmerisleep

6. Humanize Your Company and Yourself

As a company, it becomes hard to connect with customers when there is no human interaction. As a brand, it’s important to remember to be vulnerable and accept responsibility, especially with unhappy customers. Social media is the best tool. We use Instastories and Twitter that have been very effective. If anything, it helps humanize the company and the team. – Akta AdaniKyra & Vir

7. Share Your Expertise

By having the answers to problems people have, you automatically validate yourself. Integrate some video production and introduce your CEO. We have an office in California and in China, so sometimes we have potential customers worry about whether we are real people or not. Make a video about your services and upload it to a sharing platform, and prove you know what you’re talking about. – Andrew NammingaAndesign

8. Develop a Strong Brand Story

Nowadays, we have the tools to communicate our message to a global audience. Telling the founding story, your motivating factors, and how, even today, you continue to live out your original mission, vision, and values shows that you’re an authentic founder. However you feel most comfortable, pick that digital channel to communicate your message, be it on a blog, podcast, or by video.  – David CiccarelliVoices.com

9. Make It Easy for Customers to Reach Humans

Customers should be able to easily call, email, or chat with you, and find an empathetic human at the other end eager to take the time to respond to their questions and fully resolve their issues. Additionally, websites and social media feeds with a personal touch make it clear when a company is being run by authentic, passionate leaders who are committed to their customers. – Saloni DoshiEco Enclose, LLC

10. Be the Face of Your Business

As a business owner, you can be a powerful part of your brand’s identity and voice. We’ve seen that some business owners are hesitant to communicate directly with customers while they are still small and growing, but this is actually beneficial as it can help build credibility for their brand. Being upfront about your company’s values and establishing a brand identity is crucial to customer retainment and future growth. – Eng TanSimplr

11. Use a Warm Tone in Emails

What lacks in non-face-to-face meetings are all the nonverbal cues that body language provides, which are a huge part of communication. When looking to convey authenticity, responding in a timely manner and using a warm email tone are your nonverbal cues. Don’t be afraid of the exclamation mark! When used appropriately, it will communicate the right message. – Leila LewisBe Inspired PR

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