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Why Brand Authenticity is The Most Important Thing You Can Offer

Everything is available and transparent to consumers today. 

In the Age of the Customer, no one needs to go far to find the best prices and assortment of products. In fact, they only need to look at their phones.  

It’s not just about the products. It’s also the reviews, the corporate social responsibility efforts, the leadership team, and everything that a brand stands for that’s out there. 

That’s why authenticity is the most important thing a brand can offer. 


Great Product is Not Enough 

In the distant past, before the days of e-commerce, retail was all about the retailers. 

Having a great product or assortment of products and a convenient location was all that retailers needed.

That’s no longer enough. 

If you want to create any sort of loyalty around your brand today, you need to build strong relationships with your customers. 

And you do that by being authentic.  

People want to see your brand as a comprehensive entity. You have to be transparent. 

Of course, you need a great product and a great experience, but people want to know what your brand believes in and values. 

A company’s ethical values and authenticity influence purchase consideration for 62 percent of consumers, and 74 percent want more transparency related to how companies highlight issues such as sourcing products, ensuring safe working conditions, and enforcing policies on animal testing. 

Why does your brand exist?  

What does the future you want to create look like? What’s your vision?  

How are you going to create that future? What is your mission? 

Who are you? What are your values? 

As retailers, we need to be authentic in addressing these values. 


Connecting to Your Customer 

Building loyalty is all about the customer and your connection to the customer.  

The way in which we reach our customers has gone from a mass-market, one-size-fits-all approach to something much more personal.  

Today, effective communication is bottom up and 1-to-1. Whether it’s reviews or people talking through social, it’s about consumers talking to other consumers. 

Twenty-six percent of consumers say their purchasing decisions are impacted by social media influencers, and 24 percent place the same level of trust in friends and influencers when it comes to product opinions.

That’s why a brand’s most loyal customers are its most powerful advocates. They stand behind the brand and their voices are heard by their peers.  

And that’s why it’s so important to be so connected to them. 


If the Customer Isn’t at the Center, You’ll Fail 

There are countless headlines about the retail apocalypse, but the only retailers that are going away are the ones that aren’t evolving. 

They’re the ones that are sticking to the old mass-market methods. 

But if you’re not customer-centric, people know it and see it. 

I don’t have to drive farther to do business with a retailer that “gets me.” I can simply go on my phone. Location, location, location is becoming less, less, less important. 

E-commerce has really impacted the retail industry regarding consumer expectations more than anything. 

Whether in-store or online, consumers now expect a seamless, tailored omnichannel shopping experience. 

The new retail model involves consumers engaging with a brand seamlessly across all channels. 

E-commerce, brick-and-mortar, social media, and every other channel must create a unified series of moments that reinforces brand values. 

The egocentric retailers that think their current way is the best way are often the ones losing customers.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Put your customers at the heart of everything you do, always be transparent, and good things will follow.


Authenticity is Everything 

Whether customers are looking for assortment or best price or even reviews, there’s no hiding anything today. When it comes to retail, it’s all out there on the web. 

Having a great product is critical, but it’s not enough.

Brands need to connect with their customers on a deeper level if they want to develop loyalty. If you’re not being authentic to your customers, you’re going to lose them to a brand that is. 

That’s why authenticity is the most important thing a brand can offer. Staying true to yourself is just as important personally as it is for retailers. 

How are you showing your customers your authentic self? 

Bill Brand

Bill Brand served on the Clarus Board of Directors and is the SVP & Chief Retail Officer at Carnival Corporation. He brings over 30 years of experience in retail commerce, media, and technology and a wealth of insight on customer loyalty.

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