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How to Use Brand Authenticity to Earn Customers' Love

May 9, 2024

brand authenticity

In a world filled with noise and conflicting messages, authenticity stands out like a beacon. 

Look at well-known brands like Nike, Disney, Dove, and Coca-Cola. They all share one thing: they’re highly authentic. They walk the talk and ensure their actions align with their values through every message and marketing material they produce.

Authenticity is critical to a brand’s positioning and identity. Many brands turn to branding agencies to form a strong identity (or rebrand to a new one). 

Why is brand authenticity important?

From building a loyal customer base to creating a positive brand image, brand authenticity is necessary for thriving brands. 

  • Consumers want to trust the brands they buy from. According to Edelman, in 2023, 71% of people surveyed stated that trusting the brands they buy from is more important today than it was before. With customers prioritizing trusting relationships, brands should focus on building trust through storytelling and initiatives. 
  • Particularly, some generations, like Gen Z, demand trust and authenticity more than ever. Edelman’s data revealed that 79% of Gen Z consumers believe it’s more important to trust the brands they spend on than in the past. This generation seeks to shop with brands that align with their values, urging brands to express what they stand for authentically.
  • Consumers crave relatability. When brands understand their target audience and build a brand story that resonates, consumers are willing to back them. 

The four components of brand authenticity (and why you need them)

Brand authenticity extends beyond just appearing real and relatable on social media and occasionally making a public statement about the brand’s values. The most authentic brands leverage all four components of perceived brand authenticity (PBA) outlined below. 

1. Continuity

A brand’s continuity starts with the value, mission, and reason for founding. Brands serve a consistent brand story by delivering on their values and mission as the company grows. Future business decisions should support the brand’s mission for the long haul, ensuring the company’s story aligns with its roots. 

Brand continuity includes maintaining consistency across a brand’s messaging, visual identity, and tone across all channels, such as newsletters, social media profiles, customer service channels, and product or service offerings over time. 

2. Credibility

Brands aim to build loyalty with their audience, leading to genuine connections with customers. They can build this credibility with consumers by being transparent about their business practices and policies, communicating openly about their products, taking full accountability for their mistakes, and leaning into customer feedback when making improvements. 

3. Integrity

Customers develop trust in brands that lead with integrity and take responsibility for their products, services, and business actions and prioritize customer satisfaction. Although they will inevitably encounter dissatisfied customers, their response in such situations is more important. 

Integrous practices include sharing transparently, revealing any conflicts of interest or biases that consumers should be aware of, addressing customer feedback and concerns in a timely and empathetic manner, and leveraging quality control to meet or exceed customer expectations as much as possible. 

4. Symbolism

Symbolism includes a brand's visual appearance (logo, color palette, and any other branding design choices). On a larger scale, they reflect how customers view the brand in their lives or society in general. 

Symbolism allows brands to connect more deeply with consumers and make them a part of the brand and its values and beliefs. This typically leads to increased brand loyalty and strengthened brand reputation. 

The best way to understand symbolism at work is to consider which brands and logos stake their claim in our daily lives and do this well. Take Apple, for example. The logo reminds us of our devices — MacBooks, iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watch — all of which help us find knowledge, connect with others, and feel part of the digital ecosystem. 

evolution of apple

Source: USC Economics Review: The Evolution of the Apple ecosystem

5 steps for building an authentic brand

Building an authentic brand won’t happen overnight, but with the right strategies and intentional efforts, brands can work toward authenticity by following these steps. 

1. Start with your mission and values

Authentic brands know who they are, what they stand for, and how to prioritize their values. The first step to becoming an authentic brand is to define its mission, values, and purpose and leave no wiggle room for interpretation. 

At G2, for instance, the organization's core values are reflected in the acronym PEAK (Performance, Entrepreneurship, Authenticity, and Kindness). PEAK is evident in the daily efforts of G2 team members, and employees can receive company awards for exemplifying these values. 

g2 peak values


An organization's mission and values are critical to lasting brand authenticity, so ensure these are clear before proceeding. 

2. Build your brand story

Next, you must build your brand story using your mission, values, and purpose as a foundation.

First, understand your target audience

Understanding your target audience is key to crafting a brand story that appeals to and resonates with them. As a first step, identify your target audience and the problems you can solve for them. 

Identify your target audience by asking questions like: 

  • What is our target demographic? 
  • Where are they?
  • What challenges do they face?
  • What’s important to them? 
  • How can our business help solve their challenges? 

Then, write your brand story for your target audience

Once you know your target audience, you can craft your brand story with this audience in mind. The following questions can help guide the storytelling experience: 

  • What is our company’s history? 
  • What is our company’s purpose, mission, and values? 
  • What products or services does our company provide, and how can we help our audience? 
  • Why should our audience care about our business and what we do? 
  • What makes us different from our competitors? 

Remember that transparency and honesty lead to more authentic stories. Be consistent, follow your purpose, and express your brand’s personality. 

Patagonia, a well-known outdoor apparel retailer, clearly boasts its mission on its website: “We’re in business to save our home planet. We aim to use the resources we have–our voice, our business and our community–to do something about our climate crisis.” 


Source: Patagonia

But Patagonia doesn’t simply claim to be on a mission to save the planet. The brand ensures its actions, products, and values align with its claims. Patagonia’s website features an activism page with various community-centered opportunities to drive positive social and environmental change. The brand pledges 1% of sales to preserving and restoring the environment (and has been doing so since 1985). Additionally, they offer trade-in credit for Patagonia items consumers no longer use to reduce consumption and recycle used gear.

Put simply, Patagonia practices what they preach, and have become known and loved for their authenticity. 

3. Be consistent with styles and messaging

A brand’s visual identity, such as its logo, colors, typography, design, and tone of voice, helps create an experience. All of these elements should also align with the brand’s purpose and create a personality that resonates. 

More importantly, documenting these elements in a detailed style guide is crucial for consistency. Consistent appearance and style help build credibility and continuity, ensuring every aspect of the business offers the same experience to consumers throughout their journey. In addition to appearance, consistent messaging is vital. A thorough content and communications plan can help ensure the brand’s values are shared cohesively throughout the customer experience.

Nike is an excellent example of brand consistency with its simple and iconic “Just Do It” slogan and recognizable swoosh logo design. 

4. Focus on storytelling to strengthen connections

Many brands offer similar products and services, but what can set a brand apart from the competition is the stories it tells. People like to hear and read stories, especially ones they can see themselves through. In fact, according to Forbes, brains love stories, particularly narratives that share the progression of events from start to finish in captivating detail. 

Brands can tell stories about the creation of their business, the challenges they’ve faced, and how their brand and purpose have impacted the lives of others. Storytelling has become increasingly important with the rise of popular social media platforms, as users turn to these channels for connection and entertainment. Companies can share their brand story on social media by sharing behind-the-scenes information about the business, honest customer testimonials, and user-generated content.

5. Obtain feedback from your audience

Collect and analyze audience feedback as you build your brand story to ensure it resonates with and reaches your target customer. Continuous feedback helps brands understand the areas they’re doing well in and where they’re missing the mark, allowing them to fill in gaps in the brand story or pivot as needed.

One of the best places to start is to use social listening to understand what consumers say about your brand, mission, and values. Businesses can discover brand advocates, evaluate positive and negative feedback, and analyze customer sentiment. All of this data helps inform how a brand authentically presents its story. 

Ready to take the leap?

Building an authentic brand might initially seem daunting, but it’s worth the results. Authentic brands build loyalty with their customers, generate more revenue, and earn a positive reputation in the market. When you define a mission and purpose that you wholeheartedly believe in and put honesty at the heart of what you do, it’s easier to align your company’s actions with your mission, attracting consumers who want to back you entirely. 

An authentic brand can help you build positive brand equity. Keep reading to learn more about what it takes to develop and maintain your brand equity over time.

branding agency A brand can speak volumes.

Find the right branding agency to help develop, launch, and manage brands for any business.

branding agency A brand can speak volumes.

Find the right branding agency to help develop, launch, and manage brands for any business.

How to Use Brand Authenticity to Earn Customers' Love Brand authenticity is a priority for successful brands. Learn how to become a relatable and trustworthy brand to drive customer relationships.
Alyssa Towns Alyssa Towns works in communications and change management and is a freelance writer for G2. She mainly writes SaaS, productivity, and career-adjacent content. In her spare time, Alyssa is either enjoying a new restaurant with her husband, playing with her Bengal cats Yeti and Yowie, adventuring outdoors, or reading a book from her TBR list.

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