Just how Brands Can Avoid the Dreaded Fauxthenticity Pitfall

2 Oct

Avoiding the Pitfalls of Fauxthenticity

Let’ s i9000 be real for a second right here.

Today’ s marketers and brands are usually collectively recognizing the need to strike some authenticity with their audiences. That’ ersus excellent.

But in the quest to get actual, it’ s all too easy to end up making the exact opposite impression simply by trying too hard, especially upon social media channels.

When I think about this subject I’ m always reminded of Sam Buscemi’ s attempt to conform along with school kids on the TV show thirty Rock :

through GIPHY

So , we should ask ourselves: Just how can we, as businesses, avoid this particular “ fauxthenticity” pitfall? How can we all overcome the inherent barriers that will inhibit genuine connections between brand name and customer? How can we talk the language of our audience without resembling we’ re trying really hard in order to speak their language?

It might be helpful to begin by looking at a few examples of genuineness gone awry, and dissect exactly where things misfired with an eye upon getting it right.

Can a Brand Be Your own Friend?

Ian Bogost wrote a piece for the most recent issue of The Atlantic eligible Brands Aren’t Our Friends . Referencing an experience where the telecommunications huge sent Bogost delivery pies according to a Twitter quip, the subhead reads: “ Comcast sent me personally 10 pizzas. This isn’ big t nice; it’ s manipulative. ”

There’ s a fine line to stroll here, isn’ t there? Comcast was executing a “ shock and delight” strategy, which isn’ t a bad idea. But when the actions rings hollow and transparent, the required impact won’ t be generally there.

In the story, Bogost cites another instance where the social media team for Steak-umms, a seller of frozen meat, reached out to him via DM to sign a petition included in the company’ s tongue-in-cheek campaign to be verified on Twitter. When he or she learned that he’ d been chosen for inclusion by sophisticated software program that analyzed his location, passions, and social media usage habits, this made him a bit uncomfortable.

The bottom line right here? If you’ re seeking to shock and delight, you certainly don’ to want to surprise in the wrong method.

The best point of Bogost’ s content is, I think, a good one. No, manufacturers cannot be your friends. They can be friendly, yet even with a real human being behind the particular account, they’ re still intangible entities driven by commercial motives.

However, you know what? That’ s OK, due to the fact there’ s still a space to try out.

Exactly what brands CAN strive to be is reliable, likable advocates with empathetic cable connections to their customers and prospects. Which is what our aim should be.

When it comes to attaining this distinction, I believe there are 4 fundamentals that must be front-and-center, which I enter below.

Fleeing Fauxthenticity: 4 Ways to get Brands to Keep it Real

#1 – Know Your own Audience

Pretty much the prime directive for content marketing and advertising in general, but in this conversation it is further magnified. It’ s not merely about understanding general demographics, or even keeping up with segmented trends, or regurgitating the terminologies and buzzwords they will like to use (our Josh Nite had an excellent post earlier this year that opened by having an ill-fated brand attempts in order to ride the wave of well-known user hashtags ).

It’ s about understanding exactly what really matters to them, and understanding them well enough to anticipate what’ s going to resonate or drop flat. Dig deeper in your analysis. Study past campaigns by various other brands or agencies with comparable audiences, to see what’ s proved helpful and what’ s totally skipped. Have actual conversations with the individuals you serve or wish to function.

From TopRank Marketing, our content group focuses extensively on gathering plus analyzing audience insights before we all start trying to connect or employ. Authenticity efforts guided by imperfect information or algorithm-based assumptions (such the aforementioned Steak-umms case) can infuse negative feelings rather than positive types, which is certainly not what we want.

Internet users are becoming smarter these days. They see through half-baked stunts.

#2 – Don’ t Be Excessively Rosy

Through my view, this is the absolute many pivotal element, and also the toughest in order to nail. No company wants to go around trashing itself, or sending off bad vibes all the time. But , then again, the planet can be a difficult and upsetting location. Things don’ t always proceed right.

The most transparently fauxthentic brands in my experience are those bubbly, peppy, happy-go-lucky types that speak solely in confidence and exclamation points. People generally cannot relate to that.

As an example, check out this particular recent Listerine-sponsored Instagram post from online celeb Scarlett London , which usually drew massive backlash:

Scarlett London Instagram Post

On his blog, Scott Guthrie published of this cloying attempt at influencer marketing :

“ Yes, it had been staged, yes it was trite. Indeed it appears to feature tortillas propped on her bed masquerading as hotcakes. Yes the influencer was sitting down on a bedspread that sported an enormous photo of herself on it. ”

Suffice to say this post left an undesirable taste in people’ s lips. “ Instagram is a ridiculous then lie factory made to make us all really feel inadequate, ” ranted one tweet that’ ersus been liked 111, 000 occasions.


I believe brands should not necessarily skew a lot more negative, but more realistic. Recognize the struggles so many of us discuss. Mix in failures with your success stories. Deal with the flaws or drawbacks of the solution head-on instead of pretending they will don’ t exist.

And also: Don’ capital t be afraid to repel people who aren’ t really in your wheelhouse. In case your content can filter out users that will aren’ t fits for your company, and avoid wasting their time, that’ s almost as valuable since pulling in the right people.

#3 – Infuse Influencers in Their Natural Element

The Listerine example over shows how influencer marketing may backfire when mishandled. During the girl session on dispelling changer marketing lies at CMWorld 2018, TopRank Marketing’ s Digital Technique Director Ashley Zeckman cited a couple examples of comparable Instagram flops, wherein the “ influencer” accidentally pasted the brand’ s instructions into their post captions:

Influencer Marketing Does not work out on Social

The ultimate of fauxthenticity fails.

Integrating appropriate influencers into marketing campaigns is really a terrific way to add credibility, yet only if those participants can become an authentic part of the narrative. Paying for promotion through online celebrities with no real tie up to your brand isn’ t the best way to establish authenticity.

Lee Odden ’ s CMWorld presentation for the Confluence Equation offered the framework for effective influencer-powered content material, which you should check out.

#4 – Leverage Consumer Generated Content

I wrote here recently regarding UGC as a method to develop authentic awareness and trust . There really is absolutely nothing better for that purpose than increasing the voices of actual people discussing your product, service, corporation, or industry as a whole in an organic setting.

Much like with influencers, this approach can sputter if you miss on the “ natural” part, so it’ ersus critical to eschew transparently deceitful setups (e. g., contests or even prompts that simply incentivize individuals to say nice things). You can find lots of useful pointers in the blog post connected above.

Upping the Ante for Authenticity

In this frenzied atmosphere, with low consumer believe in and competition forever increasing, genuineness is set to become one of the biggest differentiators for manufacturers .

“ Almost everyone We speak to in marketing, who is seriously interested in their brand, thinks that rely on and authenticity” have become a big deal, mentioned HubSpot’ s Scott Brinker in a recent interview .

Fostering a truly authentic reputation with this faceless digital world, while dealing with the instinctive consumer tendency in order to distrust corporate messaging, presents an extremely real challenge. Those brands which are ready to meet it with gusto will become champions of the new period.

The way to fending off fauxthenticity is based on knowing your audience, avoiding artificial zeal, getting it right with influencers, and incorporating user generated content material.  

Want to be real with your customers? Then your No . 1 rule, fellow children, is this: Don’ t fake this.

For even more guidance on finding your brand’ ersus authenticity sweet spot, check out a few other past posts from the TopRank Weblog:

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