The Rise of the Genuine Brand: Why Authenticity Matters in Today's Customer Communication
Gone are the days of perfectly polished and packaged communications. These days, images of real people have replaced models airbrushed to perfection. User reviews have replaced celebrity endorsements as the gold standard of testimonials. And when a brand comes across as canned or inconsistent, customers are not afraid to let them — and others — know about it, often sharing screenshots of interactions-gone-wrong on social media.
Consumers are increasingly seeking out authentic brands, and they're quick to disregard, unlike or unfollow those that aren't. Across the generations, research has found that 86 percent of consumers value authenticity, with 90 percent of millennials — the largest living generation — saying that it matters to them.1
I experienced this firsthand last month when I ran into an issue with my order from Chewy.com. I called the company to report that our shipment of dog food was missing. Before even getting into the details of my order, the first heartfelt question from the agent was if my dog, Lily, had enough food?
She then quickly followed up by researching and owning up to a logistic snafu at their warehouse, arranging to send out a replacement, and providing a credit for me to run to the store to get a stopgap supply. While the case of the missing dog food could have been frustrating, the company made it easy on me.
And, most importantly, I was left feeling like Chewy.com truly cares about my dog, from the very beginning of our conversation. The company, which has even been known to send condolences to customers who have lost their pets, lived up to its brand promise to "…delight, surprise and thank our loyal pet lovers."
As this story shows, brands are responding to customers' desire for human, authentic interactions. Whether your business is B2B- or B2C-focused, we're now in the era of engaging with customers as people-to-people (P2P). And when it comes to word of mouth, brand authenticity matters.