For retailers, authenticity is what brings customers into their store instead of getting it online. Authenticity is a differentiator because it’s about the customer’s experience.
You probably go to or have seen many places that embrace their authenticity. Just think of some of your favorite restaurants. Many advertise “Authentic” cuisine and decorate their place with sights and sounds from the country they represent. Even if the restaurant is in a strip mall on a busy road, it works because it gives you a unique and authentic shopping experience every time.
Consumers are looking for that human touch because so much of our lives are surrounded by technology. There are more self-service options and virtual experiences available today than ever before. Automation has made our lives more convenient, but it’s also made it more mechanical and less human.
What Is Authenticity?
Authenticity goes beyond what the product is and how it’s made. It’s also more than convenience and price. Authenticity is about the customer’s expectations and what they experience when they enter a store. They are looking for unique experiences that they won’t find anywhere else. They are looking for quality and consistency in how they are treated every time.
Examples of Authenticity
The location of your store can provide a unique experience. There are neighborhoods in big and small cities across the country that have their own particular flavor and activity. Some are hip, while others are more fashionable. Designing the signage and interior to fit the neighborhood vibe will drive more business through the door. This rings true even for a retail chain. Each store can show some of its individuality while being sensitive to their brand consistency.
Creative and personal touches with store décor can add charm and provide a more meaningful experience. Starbucks still uses handwritten-chalkboard signs. Why? Too many displays or flashy signs can feel artificial. They want it to feel like a neighborhood coffee shop every time you walk in.
Another way to be authentic is to play the role of consultant, rather than sales person. Consultants are helpers and get to know what their customers want. It’s a more personal and memorable connection.
For the Millennials
They may be on their phones a lot, but millennials (between the age of 23 and 38-years-old) target authenticity and human touch in their brands—more so than any other generation. They are turning away from the big corporate brands and searching for smaller, local companies committed to authentic products and experiences.
A great example of this is the craft beer industry that’s popped up almost overnight. These consumers no longer wanted the same thing every time. They wanted to support local breweries and try new flavors. Millennials have become the perfect demographic for small and mid-sized companies to market to.
Make Your Messages Authentic
People have been bombarded with canned messages and unsolicited sales pitches for years and are turning away from them. They are skeptical of big claims and a one-size-fits-all mentality.
One way to get around all of this is through authenticity in your marketing. Understanding your brand’s purpose, its mission and vision, is the best place to start. Then, you can translate this to your messaging and attract more business, just by being you.