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3 reasons why being authentic can help you with your business

There is a well-known mantra floating about which I think really sticks.

People buy from people they know, like or trust.

But this conception is commonly, and often catastrophically, misunderstood. After all, people buy from McDonalds, but could you name their CEO? (Hint: It isn’t Ronald McDonald).

Being known, liked, and trusted, is so much more important when it comes to smaller brands, or start-up businesses.

When you buy a product, how much is rationally based on research vs emotion?

Harvard Business School professor, Gerald Zaltman, states that 95% of purchase decision-making takes place due to an emotional connection. People buy what they want, not what they need.

So, what is the difference between know, like and trust – and exactly why is it so important? Here are three things to consider when planning your marketing strategy.

1. Be authentic, and show your vulnerabilities

When it comes to marketing, you can’t argue that having a social media presence helps. And social media followers can help out, especially when it comes to advocating your brand.

In order for you to build a loyal tribe of followers, they need to know you. This doesn’t mean you have to actually be friends, but the more honest you can be, the more of a connection you will have.

Think about the film Titanic.

Jack Dawson, the homeless stray who won his ticket in a last-minute game of poker, captures the heart of Rose DeWitt Bukater, a first-class passenger who is trapped in a loveless engagement. We, the audience, are rightly heartbroken for Rose when (spoiler alert!) Jack dies, because we’ve spent the entire film following, understanding, and getting to know him.

Had Jack slipped off the gangway and fell into the sea two minutes into the film, and drowned, would we have cared? Probably not.

Circling back to you, this doesn’t mean you have to be extremely personal and reveal your innermost secrets (although it can help your audience feel an authentic connection with you).

Everybody has struggles, and it is the British way to hide those away, plaster a big fat smile on your face, and act as if everything is OK. However, if you do have personal issues you are prepared to talk about, it can help bring you closer to your audience.

Let’s say you have been through a painful divorce, and can document a particular struggle you are dealing with. It may be raw, and hard to write.

But for any of your followers who have been through the same thing, they will instantly relate, and empathise.

(Of course, there are right and wrong ways of doing this. Sharing personal information on a corporate account may not be as effective as sharing it on your personal account).

In turn, this will actually make them feel like they know you better. Ultimately, they are more likely to be a loyal advocate, as they feel that connection to you.

2. Whatever you are, be a good one

When it comes to being likeable, this one should go without saying, but… I’ll say it anyway.

This is not a popularity contest.

You don’t have to make friends with every single person in your socials, nor do you need to send them all Christmas cards (although, it can be a nice touch!). No BBQs, birthday parties or Friday night drinks are necessary in order for people to like you.

But, being authentically you (with all your quirks) and generally “not being an evil person” is essential to people liking you, and ultimately, buying from you.

Let’s consider Simon Cowell. He is well known for his straight-up jabs – but he is still authentically himself. Like or loathe him, he can usually justify why he says what he says.

He is also involved with several charities. He is the vice president of Shooting Star Children’s Hospice, and the ambassador for Against Breast Cancer, Battersea Dogs Home, Save the Children, and Help for Heroes – to name but a few.

This indicates the man is one of the good ones, and despite his “mean” persona, he really is a likeable guy. And, it shows in the auditions that happen across many of the reality shows he is involved in – the majority of people are there to audition for Simon.

In fact, he is so in demand, that in 2021 he was listed as the third richest reality star, falling just behind Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian.

3. Trust? Years to earn, seconds to break

Try smashing a plate on the ground.

Pick the pieces up, and glue them back together.

There! The plate is fixed, and as good as new.


Nope…. It’s really not.

Trust is the same. It can literally take a lifetime to build, but the minute it’s broken, there is no going back. Even if people forgive, it’s very unlikely they will forget.

The bottom line is, don’t break your consumers’ trust. Whether it’s a service or product you sell, make sure you are consistent, reliable, and honest. If people don’t trust you, they won’t buy from you.

Be fearlessly authentic

Using your social media platforms to show your consistency can really help build a loyal following.

Remember, you don’t have to be liked by everyone. You don’t have to reveal your deepest and darkest secrets. But you do have to be you.

Be raw, be authentic, be who you are.

And remember; your weirdness – that “thing” that makes you different? That’s your strength.

If you’d like help making your brand more authentic, Yardstick Engage can help.

If you’d like to learn more about how, email or call 0115 8965 300.

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