I bought a new car this week and, as you might expect, the experience came with some interesting dealership encounters. One thing that became abundantly clear was which salespeople were interested in having a real conversation about what would motivate me to make a purchase versus trying to stick to a stilted talk-track or dodging my questions. Essentially, were they willing (and trained) to be authentic in representing their brand, dealership and products?
The importance of genuinely communicating a company’s brand within the context of the real world is paramount to gaining long term customers and market share. In fact, it’s one of the most important aspects needed for customers to place their trust in a company. Marketers who are tasked with this role have an immense opportunity to show their target audiences what they truly value and how they approach customer service across the board. You only get one shot to make a first impression.
To communicate brand authenticity you need a solid corporate identity that transcends every level of a business. Executive leadership must clearly define and communicate to all employees the company’s key focus areas and priorities, including market focus, novel business approach, customer service differentiators, corporate culture, and vision for the future, and ensure that these elements are woven throughout the core go-to-market strategy and sales approach. Without these pieces in place, customers will sense that the business is simply “treading water” without clear market direction or conviction for upholding its values.
Ultimately I purchased my car from a dealership that I had done business with in the past. They stood out because they were able to have an honest conversation about how their company could meet my requirements and ink a mutually beneficial transaction. Their approach to customer service made me feel respected. There was a no-pressure policy and well-trained staff who seemed eager to listen and respond authentically to their prospective customers. The most successful companies in any industry have embodied these best practices for years – their products and services continue to change and evolve but the role of brand authenticity in acquiring and keeping customers cannot be overstated.