Consumers are well aware that advertisers tend to stretch the truth, touchup photos and post images that aren’t particularly authentic, and frankly they’re sick and tired of it. More and more customers and clients are speaking out and letting brands know what they want to see.
These days consumers want brands to share people and ads that are genuine and tell an authentic story. All too often brands miss the mark when they try to alter what’s already perfect the way it is. See the value of authentic marketing and learn why it should be at the top of your to-do list.
What is Authentic Marketing?
Forbes defines authentic marketing as, “the true self-expression of a sincerely held business philosophy. It’s rare in comparison to traditional, or inauthentic, marketing strategies, but it’s much more effective for a business’ longevity and impact.” In other words the brand is being completely transparent with their beliefs and extend them across their channels.
Why Does Authentic Marketing Matter?
Technology and social media have made it very easy to modify and completely change an original image. Most photos and copy are meticulously altered behind the scenes. When the final content reaches consumers they are seeing the brand’s ideal representation of their company, but not a realistic representation. This inauthentic process has caused concern among the general public and a growing distrust in brands.
The most common practice nowadays is to slap a picture perfect scene or human next to a product and think walah, my campaign is sure to be a hit! But not so fast, the data speaks a different story and if you want to avoid irritating your customers, it’s important you see why authentic marketing should be on your radar.
User Generated Content (UGC) Helps Brands Stay Authentic
What is the best way to stay authentic with your audience? Displaying UGC from your customers and fans shows transparency about brand experiences. People can share their honest opinions on social openly and a brand cannot hide from it. Instead, of expecting the worst, why don’t you create a culture no one can post badly about.
One brand in particular has been featured in thousands of positive Instagram posts from women around the world. American Eagle decided to empower women to feel beautiful in their own skin with their #AerieReal campaign.
Check out some of the best social user generated content shared by real people on social.
#AerieReal – The Beauty of Authentic Marketing
American Eagle’s underwear brand, Aerie, is a good example of how to execute authentic marketing. AE’s CEO, Jennifer Foyle, said in a statement back in 2014, “There is no need to retouch beauty,” and she backed up her words by not allowing any retouching of their models. As you can imagine, the feedback from customers and the community was very positive! Not only were the customers happier, but sales went up.
Brands that use retouched images are disqualifying consumers that may not be able to relate with the perfect photos of models. Therefore believing they can’t live up to the brand’s standards. Brands should make consumers feel like they relate to the company. It is more beneficial for brands to show they appreciate all types of beauty and empower consumers to feel comfortable in their own skin.
Social media has not only given consumers a way to voice their opinion, but also a channel to amplify their views and feedback. And every brand knows, people will let you know how they feel loud and clear. Gone are the days of perfecting every image and every line. Authentic is the new black and it’s beautiful.
So did American Eagle successfully execute an authentic marketing campaign? Absolutely. The first quarter after launching #AerieReal sales increased 9%, and the following quarter sales increased 13%.
At the end of the day you’re running a business, so of course you’re going to wonder what’s in it for you and your company. Well the answer is, growth. American Eagle proved that authentic marketing makes consumers feel more positively toward the brand, resulting in increased revenue. Take the bull by the horns. Embrace authentic marketing and choose to be a leader in the space. Communicating your core values and beliefs through your marketing strategy will build loyalty, trust and stronger relationships with your customers.
Authentic Marketing Inspires Customers to Share #AerieReal User Generated Content (UGC)
Authentic marketing is allowing customers to connect on a more personal level with brands. Customers feel understood and accepted for who they are. American Eagle does a great job of empowering their customers to feel beautiful and strong. So customers are posting more user generated content (UGC) that will help grow the brand. By being real, American Eagle is causing a movement.
The UGC speaks for itself, customers love #AerieReal. Scroll over the photos to see what customers are saying, or click on a photo to see it larger.
Start by asking yourself the tough questions. What do we (as an organization) stand for? What ideals do we want to be known for? How do we want to deliver those ideals? There is significant value and ROI that can be gained from authentic influencer marketing.