Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey – Barefoot Wine Founders

By Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey – Barefoot Wine Founders

5 Traits of Authenticity that Diversify Your Brand

5 Traits of Authenticity that Diversify Your Brand 150 150 MIchael and Bonnie Harvey

When your brand is seen as authentic, your competition pales, your customer loyalty skyrockets, and your sales grow. According to Wikipedia, authenticity is “truthfulness of origins, attributes, commitments, sincerity, devotion, and intention.” In other words, it’s the real deal! Over time, authentic brands become reliable, consistent, and reputable. Not only are they first to market, they are also first to a specific market. In most cases, they’ve withstood the test of time—they are the real thing. They are leaders in their category, looked up to by their pretenders, and put on a pedestal.

So, how can your brand become “authentic?” Here’s our list:

  1. Principal.Your brand signifies high standards of quality, dependability, customer service, craftsmanship, and community support. You have the reputation of treating associates, employees, neighbors, and the environment with compassion and respect. You protect this reputation devotedly.
  2. Original. Your brand was first to satisfy a necessity. Other brands in your niche are considered knock-offs. But that can only be true if your brand consistently delivers superior quality. Knock-offs will try to see how little quality the market will accept (thus undercutting your price) in order to take advantage of the market you defined. Being first has a feeling of authenticity, especially in applied technology, but your brand must consistently please an unstable, unpredictable market.
  3. Classic. Your brand’s actual image carries classic conventions, not just a popular trend at the time (eventually outdone by yet another glitzy fad). From its logo to its packaging to its signage to its trade dress, your brand image sticks to classic representation. It’s easy to read and pronounce, easy to recognize and remember, and it respects tried-and-true graphic relationships for color, spacing, and quality queues.
  4. Pedigree. Your brand’s name is synonymous with quality. But unless your brand is Rolex, Tiffany, or Chanel, you must wait until your brand has a history of superior performance before you can get those privileges. Your brand’s story diversifies your brand, and can give it a unique quality identical to pedigree.
  5. Persona. Like Mark Zuckerberg for Facebook, Henry Ford for Ford Motor Company, and Steve Jobs for Apple, your brand has an actual person behind it. They represent the brand, as though they’d say, “I guarantee it!” as former president of Men’s Wearhouse George Zimmer said. A real live person behind the brand, rather than an impersonal logo, adds the integrity that authentic brands truly need.

These are our top 5 traits of authenticity, but there are many more! It’s fascinating that “authentic” brands risk losing one or more of these traits for efficiency, standardization, or profitability. Their authenticity could be exploited without appreciation for the details these traits convey to the market. Authenticity is difficult to earn, and must be carefully protected.

Your faithful customers will demand authenticity once your brand earns that reputation. This is an exceptional advantage in keeping your brand stocked and on the front page.

Retailers understand the influence an authentic brand has. If they want to appeal to the brand’s faithful following, they have to carry it. They must keep it stocked to satisfy their customers and maintain their reputation as a retailer.

After all, there’s nothing like “the real McCoy.” So why not enhance your brand with some authenticity?

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