Authentic content marketing. How easy is it to achieve?

Customers are more cynical than ever. Now, 90% of consumers look for authentic content marketing from brands.

We’ve spent years working with clients, ensuring they strike the right balance with their content.

People’s needs constantly change, however, and companies must remain hyper-aware of the changing world around them to continue engaging audiences.

Over the past 18 months, audience priorities have undergone a significant collective shift. With this monumental shift in mind, how can your brand develop an effective, authentic content marketing strategy?

Authentic content makes you relatable.

What does it really mean to be relatable? Well, fundamentally, you need to help your audience feel something. Give them something that they can feel like they share with you. These connectors enable those watching your content to feel closer to your brand.

This closeness is key to winning out against your competitors when it comes to brand consideration. We spend a lot of time wondering what will get an individual to choose our brands over others. Key to achieving this is to make them feel like you ‘get’ them.

One brand that smashes this out of the park is Dove. The skincare company’s Real Beauty campaign is a prime example of content that connects with individuals. Their campaign content speaks to its customers, showcasing real women. By doing so, it challenges perpetuated beauty industry ‘ideals’, highlighting that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and shades. 

The campaigns tenure is a testament to its resonance and strength among its target demographic. This message has underpinned Dove campaigns since 2004. This success demonstrates the power connecting with your audience base in an authentic way holds for your brand.

Much like the Real Beauty campaign communicates, it’s worth casting off a little ‘polish’ when it comes to creating your content in favour of creating something more real and relatable.

Achieve transparency through authentic storytelling.

Let’s clear something up from the start. Saying you’ll act authentically and transparently is all well and good, but it requires commitment. In some cases, this can be pretty radical.

Younger customers, we mean those under the age of 40, are becoming more demanding of brands they buy from. Over 80% of this cohort want to engage with companies that are value-aligned. As these younger customers grow in terms of their spending power, brands have to ensure that they’re on beat with their messaging. Those that aren’t striking the right tone will find themselves cast aside by these younger customers.

In a recent McKinsey podcast, one of the group’s partners touched upon how intelligent and thorough younger customers have become when interrogating certain companies. They want to understand what makes the company tick, what they stand for, what impact they have on their community, and fundamentally, what spending their money with them will achieve. 

Watch out, too, because those caught out for green or woke-washing could find themselves in the middle of a high profile scandal. Given the ferocity of cancel culture, a scandal could prove enough to damage a brand’s reputation with customers permanently.

Thankfully, there are some awesome examples of brands whose authentic content marketing strategies are worth taking the lead from. Adventure-wear specialist Patagonia is an excellent example of a company that has committed to ensuring it communicates how it is living up to its eco-conscious values, encouraging its customers to join its mission.

In addition to printing long-form essays in its catalogues covering topics its customers would be fascinated in, it goes against the grain in its campaigns. Its famous Black Friday campaign, which led with the title ‘Don’t Buy This Jacket‘, called out rampant consumerism at its own expense. Highlighting the fashion industry’s ecological impact.

Use authentic content strategies to take a stand.

While brands can promote their business principles through content marketing, we have begun to witness their power in influencing society at a broader level. However, this one comes with a watch out, as there are plenty of examples of well-intentioned ads ending up as clangers (sorry, Pepsi).

Nike stands out as a brand that has got this right in a big way recently. Its support for Colin Kaepernick following his taking a knee in support of the black lives matter movement was a powerful statement supporting a significant cultural movement. 

The ad was significant on several levels. It captured the cultural discourse of the moment and ensured the brand didn’t try to remain neutral, adding its voice and power to a cause that touched so many of its customers. 

On taking that stand, Nike’s founder Phil Knight said:

“It doesn’t matter how many people hate your brand as long as enough people love it. And as long as you have that attitude, you can’t be afraid of offending people. You can’t try and go down the middle of the road. You have to take a stand on something, which is ultimately, I think, why the Kaepernick ad worked.”

For Nike, its initial concern about running the ad was unfounded. Following its launch the brand achieved a 31% boost in sales. Its customers aged 16-49 said that they found Nike’s value-aligned ads to be empowering.

Developing an effective content strategy is easy – just keep it simple. 

When it comes down to it, authenticity in content marketing can be boiled down to some key fundamentals: Take a stand, cut the bullshit, and walk the walk. If you ensure you do this in line with what your customer cares about, and you find ways to communicate this effectively, your brand stands a better chance of growing. The pitfall of playing it safe can be fading into the background.

Getting this right is the result of going on the right journey. If you’re interested in unlocking the power of authentic content marketing strategies, then get in touch for a chat.

The team at Even is ready and waiting to guide you and your team.