How to breathe personality into your brand with authentic marketing

A tale by

Kalan Billington

It’s no secret that consumers are becoming jaded. Paid influencers, sponsored ads, and algorithms that favour the highest bidder are deciding what we should see which leaves us questioning – which brands can we trust?

Get back to basics with authentic marketing

authentic marketingI recently attended the IMC Conference. There was one recurring thread in each presentation; all the speakers challenged us as marketers to get back to basics. To strip away what we thought mattered and instead, focus on what matters to the consumer.

Greg Garden, CEO of the Marketing Association of SA (MASA) stated that 50-80% of CEOs don’t trust marketing. That is a jaw-dropping number! So, how do we change that and re-establish a sense of trust from the most lucrative markets available to us? We have to start laying our cards out on the table when we advertise, displaying our own personality in the way we speak and through the content we choose to share with our audiences.

Here is Brand Candy’s authentic marketing strategy for getting back to basics and reconnecting with your audience.

1. Honour the DNA of your brand

Darren Hampton, the GM of Digital and CRM for Nando’s asked this question: What made up the DNA of your brand in the beginning? He reminded us that it matters where your brand started. Sometimes, to move forward, it’s important to go back to what got your brand to where it is – to that original idea. This is who your brand truly is, so scratch away at any rubbish that’s built up quietly while you weren’t looking, and reconnect with your brand’s DNA.

2. Brands need to have a greater purpose

Bongani Chinkanda, the CEO at HDI Youth Consultancy, spoke to us about marketing to the youth of today.  Brands that are speaking to a greater purpose are doing better than those that are just pushing products. He challenged brands to be hungry and curious and make sure that your brand isn’t speaking AT the consumer but speaking WITH them. Aligning with their need to make a difference helps to establish a sense of camaraderie, which in turn establishes trust. Be warned, however, people can sense faked enthusiasm for a cause. Choose a cause you genuinely feel motivated to support.

authentic marketing

3. Breathe emotion into your brand

This is CPR for your brand! Modisi Seretlo says that Carling Black Label is one brand that’s owning the scene on this point. Their Brand Director, Grant Pereira, spoke to us about purpose marketing, and wow, they are hitting it out of the park! Have a look at these two campaigns – we found them to be moving, relevant to Carling Black Label’s purpose and very memorable.

Black Label breathes a full spectrum of emotions into their campaigns. The bug has even bitten me – I only buy Black Label beer for my husband after seeing those campaigns!

4. Authentic marketing is beyond numbers

Don’t get me wrong, data is important. We know that reporting back to our clients on what we’re doing is key. But sometimes, pursuing sales relentlessly can hinder your brand message. Marketing isn’t a sprint, it’s a long-distance race.

So, try not to get too fixated on how many sales each action will attract. Chasing the money will kill your brand’s personality, you’ll become “just another corporation” and then? You’re haemorrhaging authenticity.

Get creative and be authentic to who you are as a brand, and then measure that.

In the words of Franz Kafka: “Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.”  

Sticking to that will surely make your brand stand out amongst the rest.

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