DIY DIGITAL - Creating an Authentic Brand: The Why and How

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There are storytellers in our midst.

Have you noticed? They’re not the type we knew as children: well-meaning, grey-haired volunteers conducting storytime down at the local library.

Oh, hell no. These storytellers are savvy. They’re hungry, they’re skilled, and they know how to put the very best of your brand on show.

We tell stories. Our poison? Video. Animation. All the good stuff. But there are many beautiful and integrated ways to do it, all guided by the one (not so) secret weapon that all storytellers have in common: AUTHENTICITY.

Elena Bajik for Forbes recently reminded us that ‘brands need to have a core identity that resonates with their customers’. But is that enough?

Not if you don’t shout about it, she says.

“Today’s customers increasingly want to know what a brand stands for...you must be part of a meaningful dialogue with customers.”

  • Elena Bajik for Forbes

So how do you create that dialogue? How do you tell that story? How, indeed, do you send the message to the market that you’re real and meaningfully connected to your clients, current and prospective alike?

Authenticity is easy as 123 (and 4). Let’s do it.

1. Get a video content strategy

For starters, the story has to be there to start with. If you haven’t got a corporate content strategy up and running, the time is nigh. We can help with that too!

Then, once you’re clear with your brand, mission statement, values, and content strategy, it’s time to do a little thinking. You see, the truth is that:

Personality creates authenticity →  Authenticity creates trust → Trust creates engagement, and →  Engagement creates experience.

The isn’t, and never has been, any other way. And how are you going to know what to do (and feel comfortable doing it) without strategising first?

2. Be confident

Got a brand? Time to flaunt it.

The highway to brand authenticity is a confident one, and it’s one that’s got to be deep within your brand’s DNA. That means being confident enough to talk, think, speak and post like your brand even as the decade’s biggest trends rise and fall.

Think about this. In a world full of insta-perfect collages, smug photos of food, poorly worded “inspirational” quotes… what is your feed and story going to look, sound and read like? By all means, notice the treads. But also know how to stay true - and authentic - to your brand’s goals, vision, strategy and drive.

3. C’mon… show them who you really are!

Here’s where the poison comes in. How are you going to get your brand’s story across to your market in a way that’s cost effective, efficient, honest, engaging, and a joy with which to engage?

Video. Animation. All the good stuff. You got it.

Well-produced video marketing campaigns - like ones that go behind-the-scenes and include owners, employees and consumers speaking about their engagement with the company (check out this one we did for KordaMentha, or this one we did for Bakers Delight) - help your market connect with your brand in a much more honest, meaningful and authentic way.

Good video content tells a story. Who who’ve thought? But how?

You see, video has the power to combine a bunch of media and approaches to digital content marketing. Sound, graphics, photography, animation… you name it. Its ability, as a medium, to combine the power of so many once-separate approaches makes it the ideal way to emotionally connect with your audience.

“If you allow the consumer to feel a personal connection to your brand that results in direct engagement, you have succeeded.”

  • Meredith Xavier, The Ligné Group

A great way to tell your stories authentically, using video, is by producing gorgeous branded content. The golden rule?

Leave the products at home. Your branded content is all about producing videos that manifest and flesh out the values that underpin your work. Here are some great examples produced by Dove, Coca Cola, Dollar Shave Club, and a bunch by us.

And as if you needed more convincing on the power of video to elicit brand authenticity, check D&AD’s Best Brand Content Campaigns in the World 2018 wrap.

4. Be consistent

These days, consumers can smell a rat from a mile away. There’s a reason why video and animation content strategies, social media plans, and verbal identity guides exist these days, people! It’s to help us keep it consistent, and spend less time doing so.

Our top tip? Actually be authentic. Yes, that sometimes means killing your darlings. The best, easiest, and most satisfying way to ensure your authenticity is to make sure you’re living out your brand in each and every way, each and every day.

From Tom Felix (La Vecchia):

“Examine your mission and vision statements, and take a "culture inventory" to see if you are actually living it out each and every day. The best way to project authenticity is to actually be authentic. Big brands can be authentic, they just need not try too hard.”

  • Tom Felix, La Vecchia

In summary:

Don’t know where to start? Here are some simple ideas regarding how you can become more authentic today - try:

  • Switching up your traditional ‘About Us’ page for a paragraph or two on what inspired you to take your career journey in the first place

  • Redrafting your content strategy to include video and animation (your surefirei ways to connecting emotionally with your audience) and plans for telling the personal stories of your employees - blogs, short video profiles, and social media posts are great ways to do so

Contacting us for some guidance and a free-and-easy quote