Did you know that 85% of all consumers consider a brand’s authenticity when making a purchase? This proves that now more than ever, buyers hold the power, which is why authenticity has become so important in communications. Consumer behaviour has evolved, and so, PR techniques need to change, too.

After a new demand for authenticity, brands have made the shift to incorporate it into their strategies and leading marketing communications.

Here, media update’s Maryna Steyn looks at three areas where authenticity has become the driving force behind communication.

1. Real vs convenient

Consumers are making informed decisions about what they buy, opting for genuine quality over fast, easy and fake. Buyers are willing to pay a higher price for products and services they believe are worth investing in — they get that true quality takes time.

When looking at writing press releases for your client, your aim should be to inform customers about the original products. You need to explain how they will benefit from purchasing these offerings when it is more expensive than a mass produced item.

Highlight why a longer waiting period is necessary or why production takes longer. Your audience does not need a lecture, so keep it short and to the point — they will also appreciate you skipping the sales pitch and getting to the grit of it (keep reading to find out why).

2. Artificial vs organic

In this case, authenticity means ‘natural’ as consumers opt for products that are sustainable, organic and free from artificial additives. It also impacts lifestyle changes that stretch beyond diet.

For the PR profession, this means that consumers want to interact with agencies that fit these categories. They seek out brands that mean something and serve a purpose; whether it is giving back to the community, being environmentally-friendly or being a local business.

PR professionals need to highlight how a brand fits these specifications. If a company is involved in community projects like sponsoring a safe haven for gender-based violence victims, or conservation efforts like generating their own renewable energy, give it more publicity.

3. Audience vs values

When we think of brand values, words like ‘truthful’ and ‘honest’ come to mind. This means that communication needs to meet those criteria. This is because it helps build relationships between individual members of the public and the brand as people perceive a like-mindedness between them and the company. In short, consumers want brands who share their values.

In this day and age, everyone knows they are constantly being bombarded with sales pitches and brand messages. Stop beating around the bush and give audiences the facts. Don’t lie about what your client’s products can (or cannot) do; customers will find out soon enough. Remember to also be vulnerable and transparent when dealing with a PR crisis, such as bad reviews.

Some debate exists on what authenticity is and whether it can be faked. This seems to be a subjective answer to a subjective question because meaning is understood to be created by individuals through personal experience. The more consumers come to the same conclusion, the stronger the collective perception of the brand becomes.

How is authenticity steering your brand communications? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Authenticity is an important part of PR. If you would like to learn more, then check out these Three ways to build brand authenticity with PR.
*Image courtesy of Canva