Make Your Message Heard with Authentic Communication
Our inboxes are stuffed. Social media platforms inundate us with advertisements practically every other minute. The world feels constantly abuzz. It’s really no stretch to say that communication channels today are oversaturated.
So, how can you make your communication stand out? And perhaps more importantly, when you have something meaningful to communicate, how do you ensure your intentions are clear in your messaging and people are really hearing you?
Authenticity is your answer.
The Trend of Authenticity
We know, we know, authenticity is everyone’s favorite buzzword lately. That’s not lost on us. But taking a second to reflect, authenticity’s rise to prominence makes a lot of sense. Culturally, we’re in the midst of a purpose pursuit. Having a sense of purpose motivates us to drive forward and achieve, and helps us feel fulfilled in life. Take millennials, for example, who’d rather pass up a higher salary to work for a company driven by social purpose.
In our pursuits of purpose, we are constantly yearning for a sense of authenticity; it’s important for us to quickly distinguish what’s real and what’s not. No more fake news – we want truth and transparency. It’s the physical embodiment of #NoFilter. We don’t have time to waste on facades of falsities – give it to us straight or don’t bother at all.
This insatiable desire for realness is also reflected in attitudes towards brands and businesses.
90% of consumers admit that authenticity is crucial when deciding which brands to support. We want the brands and businesses we support to also be driven by a sense of purpose, and we want to be able to easily distinguish what this purpose is through brand communications.
The rise of social media influencers could also be explained by our desires for authenticity. Who better to promote brands and businesses than everyday people living a seemingly normal life just like you?
With transparency and honesty in vogue, we’re seeing many major brands responding. Some are opting for influencers to authentically tell a meaningful story that exemplifies a brand’s purpose. Others are delivering campaigns fully centered on purpose, even if that means telling customers not to buy their product. All in all, it boils down to offering authentic realness in the place of perfectly curated execution.
Authenticity’s Shelf Life
Many speculate that it was Dove’s Real Beauty campaign launched in 2004 that initially gave authenticity within marketing its footing. Seventeen years later, authenticity is still relevant for brands and remains a powerful marketing and communication tool. It’s not lofty to assume that authenticity will continue on as the dominant trend shaping and maintaining how businesses market themselves and communicate to consumers.
If you haven’t yet introduced authenticity into your brand’s communications yet, now might be a good time to do so. However, it’s necessary to consider how exactly you will utilize authenticity, especially within your communications. This is something that should take critical thought and reflection because, while we can consider authenticity a trend in some ways, it’s also important to also recognize it as a philosophy. As such, we see authenticity’s salience, which hopefully discourages ill-intended businesses from capitalizing on authenticity to mislead consumers.
Don’t think about authenticity as a trend-wave to jump on. Recognize that implementing authenticity within your brand and communication should be a nuanced process. After all, there is no “one size fits all” method to creating authentic communication. Let’s dig a little deeper into authentic communication to understand this more.
What is Authentic Communication?
Most simply, for a business, authentic communication is messaging that transparently reflects the business’s values, motives and aspirations. Normally, authentic communication doesn’t stand alone. Rather, it’s backed up by the actions taken by a business to support what it believes in. And vice versa. Although, it should go without saying: if you say you’re going to do something, do it, otherwise don’t bother with authentic communication at all.
When it comes to tone, authentic communication doesn’t beat around the bush. It doesn’t hide or obscure truth (which, coincidentally, is what marketing and communication have historically been devised to do). It’s communication without hyperbole, fluff, or corporate buzz words.
It’s important to note that communicating authentically also has a lot to do with listening authentically. Creating truly authentic communication is a symbiotic process, requiring that you actively listen to the people your business engages with. Take responsibility for your communication and its impact. You should not only mean what you say but additionally, ask for feedback on what you say to ensure your messaging is resonating properly and genuinely.
One final principle of authentic communication is its ability to foster connection between the communicator and their audience. If done correctly, authentic communication should demonstrate a genuine interest and willingness to engage in dialogue with an audience in order to learn more from them and ultimately develop a lasting connection with them.
Authentic Communication to the Rescue?
So, if authenticity is the answer to amping up your communications to ensure they’re being heard and seen, shouldn’t you just cut the corporate lingo, put pen to paper and write directly from the heart?
Not so fast.
What’s interesting about authenticity and notably authentic communications, are the strict unspoken norms that govern what can actually be deemed authentic. Ironically enough, perfecting your authentic voice in order to produce genuinely authentic communication takes practice.
As we mentioned, there is no “one size fits all” method for creating authentic communication. Finding your business or brand’s authentic voice should take time and effort, and most importantly, reflection. To help you get started, we’ve outlined three top tips for crafting authentic communication for an external audience.
3 Top Tips for Authentic Communication
What is Your Why?
Get serious about your business’s guiding purpose and evaluate how your values and goals underline your purpose. You should be crystal clear on what your business stands for and how its operations are aligned in supporting your purpose. This is a serious exercise to undertake and will ultimately aid you in developing a solid foundation to base your communications on. Remember, “to thine own self be true.” When it comes to authentic communication, don’t just copy what other businesses are doing. Your purpose should be unique to your business, making your messaging just as unique.
What’s Standing in Your Way?
Come face to face with what you feel is holding you back from speaking and communicating authentically. Maybe you’re worried that relevant stakeholders might take issue with a new communication methodology that champions transparency over the bottom line. Sit down and have an open and honest chat with them. Express that in today’s world, focusing on transparency could likely make a positive impact on your bottom line.
Concerned with how your customers would react to your authentic voice? Gauge the temperature by opening up a dialogue with a few customers you’ve already established a relationship with. Maybe this is something they’ve been long awaiting. Remember that a major part of authentic communication is authentic listening.
Worried that what you have to say might be considered controversial? If it’s potentially harmful to an audience, then your communication might be better left unsaid.
Step 1: write your messaging utilizing your brand or business’s authentic voice.
Step 2: reflect on what you’ve written by yourself and with others.
Step 3: revise your messaging based on internal reflection and external feedback.
Step 4: do it all over again and don’t be afraid to continually repeat steps 2 and 3 until you feel your communication genuinely conveys your feelings and clearly transmits your authentic message.
Need help with Your Authentic Communications?
When it comes to authentic communications, there’s a lot to consider. But it doesn’t need to be complicated! We’re communications experts skilled in helping brands and businesses find and develop their authentic voice. We love supporting our clients in creating authentic communications that truly resonate with their audiences—it’s a part of our purpose! At Mach Media, we’re all about crafting communications to make an impact and make a difference. Ready to make a splash with your authentic communication? Contact us today!
Looking for more marketing expertise?
Sign up for our newsletter
"(Required)" indicates required fields