In the digital age where social media is prevalent, companies and businesses are forced to be more authentic as compared to the past. Access to information is easily available because of the internet and the world is linked more than ever through social media. This allows easier sharing of info; one click of a share button or retweet will lead to an exponential number of people gaining knowledge about a particular subject.
With this boom of knowledge and access to it, companies should be ever mindful about being authentic. Authenticity in the broadest sense is being true to oneself. Companies should take this into account by being true to what they are, what do they sell, and what is their advocacy.
Failure to be true to oneself could possibly be disastrous to a company. Any wrong foot forward would result in a landslide of bad press and social media flak that could sink a company with no hope of getting out of the hole.
Along with being authentic is being accountable and responding to consumers and clients. With social media, consumers can directly talk to companies and businesses and this concept should not be lost on companies. This personal interaction encourages consumers to buy the brand as they feel like they are talking to actual people and not just to a big financial entity.
Authenticity also entails being more human. And humans, according to a study published in 2012 by three scientists from Harvard and Yale, are naturally cooperative and would instinctively help out for the common good. With this, companies have figured out that one way to sell their brand is to become more and more charitable. Consumers tend to become more supportive of companies with causes as evidenced by the shoe brand TOMS and outdoor clothing brand Patagonia.
TOMS launched their One for One campaign back when founder Blake Mycoskie visited an Argentinian village in 2006 and found that the children didn’t have adequate shoes. The One for One campaign basically says that from every purchase of a TOMS product an extra pair will be given to someone in need.
Patagonia, on the other hand, donates 1% of its profit to grassroots environmental protection agencies and advocacies as well as launching the 1% for the Planet campaign which encourages companies to donate 1% of their sales for the conservation of our planet.
TOMS and Patagonia are examples of companies that are both real to themselves and human and this makes them epitomes of authentic companies.
While these two are optimal examples, start up business can also follow the blueprint set by them. To generate funds for various causes,it is always best to just be real to what your company is and to be transparent to what your causes are. People on social media will be connected to the companies whose product or service they buy of course but the consumers will also be drawn in if they share the same advocacies of the company and causes they support.
The digital age brings companies closer to consumers. Authenticity therefore is a necessity for companies in order for consumers to be connected and engaged with them. Advertising a perfect product is not enough anymore, companies should be an entity that is relatable and human.