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The 3 habits of highly authentic brands

Soleil Kelley

March 3, 20227 min read

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Brand authenticity seems like a simple idea: say what you do and do what you say, while being transparent and consistent about your values. In practice, though, authenticity can be hard to achieve. That’s because your customer doesn’t live and breathe your values like you do — and they won’t simply take your word for it. They need to experience those values across every interaction they have with your brand. 

Expressing your authentic brand in ways that resonate with the customer isn’t like flipping a switch. Just as good health is the product of consistent exercise and a steady diet, authenticity results from a series of conditioned, repeated behaviors. Brands that flex their authentic muscles make these good habits the foundation of their strategy. Let’s take a look at what those habits are and what it takes for brands to build them. 

Habit 1: make it personal

Authentic content makes the customer feel like your brand really knows them and appreciates them. This is critical for growing your brand; a recent Forrester study found that 76% of consumers remain loyal when they feel appreciated, while 80% will spend more with such a brand, and 87% will recommend it. 

But while great brands are experts at telling their own stories, many still struggle to take that energy and focus it on what the customer needs. Here are a few strategies for building the habit of customer-centric personalization:

Understand what matters to the customer in real time

With dozens of digital and social channels for connection and communication, your understanding of the customer might sometimes look more like the individual tiles of a mosaic than a complete picture. The right social listening tool helps you put those tiles together.

With social listening, your brand can connect across more than 30 social and messaging channels to tap into real-time conversations happening among customers. This means you always have an up-to-the-minute perspective on what matters, a clear view of where important conversations are taking place, and visibility into how conversations evolve over time. 

Choose a social listening platform that leverages sentiment analysis. It’s not enough to merely track mentions. Sentiment analysis applied to brand category, competition, tags, and mentions will give you greater context into the feelings behind the conversations. This allows everyone on your team to create more personalized engagements while maintaining the scale you need to grow. 

Unclog the production machine

Every effective brand campaign requires the coordinated execution of dozens of independent tasks across disparate timelines and workflows. Unfortunately, this complex environment often lacks alignment with quality assurance processes — and that can hinder authenticity.

With a unified customer experience management (Unified-CXM) platform, brand leaders can streamline production in several important ways. A Unified-CXM platform integrates workflows, task management, deadlines, content requests, and documentation in a single hub. This increases visibility across campaigns, reduces redundant processes, and helps you achieve the scale you need to reach every customer.  

Habit 2: make collaboration easier 

Alignment around production processes can fuel authenticity, but collaboration is about more than production. Your brand teams must constantly ideate together on new strategies, borrow expertise across silos, or execute ad-hoc projects to capture time-sensitive opportunities.

Collaboration is important for authenticity because your customers should feel that when they engage one part of your business, they engage the whole. That requires organizational discipline and a team mindset. Here are some of the ways a Unified-CXM platform can help you get there.

Reduce point solutions

As kids, most of us played the game “telephone.” A message starts at one end of the chain, but as it’s passed along from person to person, it changes slightly until it’s something completely different. 

Okay, maybe your brand campaigns don’t end in the chaotic nonsense of “telephone.” But when you have dozens of teams, each using their own point solutions to accomplish one individual aspect of a larger project, the effect is similar. Messages, requests, and tasks are repeated over and over across redundant systems; errors of transmission lead to poor communication; a link in the chain gets skipped, leading to low visibility and awareness; and every task requires manual input from tool to tool. 

All this excess clutter just reinforces the silos that prevent great collaboration and creates unnecessary obstacles between your brand and the consumer. A Unified-CXM platform reduces complexity to create one campaign view for every stakeholder, so you spend less time navigating your own ecosystem and more time focusing on the customer. A unified approach turns the telephone line into a shared circle of open communication and execution so you can move faster, scale more easily and, best of all, create authentic messages. 

Share consistent data to fuel decision making

One hallmark of great collaboration is the ability to quickly synthesize vast amounts of consumer data across teams and use it to create winning strategies and campaigns. Multiple point solutions often create conflicting data sets, making this kind of rapid analysis impossible and hindering quick decisions. You can’t be authentic if you can’t even agree on what is really happening with your customers. 

A Unified-CXM platform generates uniform reporting in a single view for all teams, all in real time. That means departments can quickly come to a consensus and work in concert on execution. And they can do so with the trust that they are acting on the most up-to-date information available, making them both more collaborative and more adaptable. 

Habit 3: learn from the competition

One important reason brands stress authenticity is that it helps them stand out in a crowded marketplace. To differentiate themselves, authentic brands dedicate the time and resources to understanding their competition. Brands that build this habit:

Understand what’s working (and what isn’t) 

With millions of brand messages transmitted by competitors across dozens of channels, truly knowing what’s happening in the market can be a huge challenge.

The right competitive benchmarking tool leverages AI to cut through this noise and automatically track what, when, and where your competitors are communicating. This puts a host of competitive insights at your fingertips: what messages and channels are driving engagement, what content is resonating most strongly, the behaviors and attitudes of your competitors’ customer base, and what trends and topics are generating negative sentiment (so you can avoid them). A Unified-CXM platform serves up this insight in a single view. 

Stay ahead of reputational risks

The easiest way to lose the trust of your customers and fall behind your competition is to take on unnecessary risks to your reputation. 

You need to know exactly what claims are being made about your brand so you can properly respond — especially if the claim is false. Such messages can also come from fake or hacked social accounts or bots trolling popular message boards. Even your own messages may inadvertently strike the wrong tone.

Make the most of a Unified-CXM platform with AI-powered alerts so you are automatically apprised of any anomalous activity or sudden changes in consumer sentiment, before the risk strikes. Media monitoring tools also allow you to track breaking new stories and influential journalists, so you can take a stand on issues that impact the lives of your customers.

Sprinklr is best-in-class for delivering brand authenticity

As the only Unified-CXM platform, Sprinklr gives you all the tools you and your business stakeholders need to build authentic habits in a single place. With Sprinklr Modern Research and Sprinklr Modern Marketing & Advertising, you can both gather key insight across 30+ channels and create, publish, and amplify the authentic campaigns that resonate with customers.

Get the strategic handbook on brand authenticity

To learn more about harnessing consumer insight and expressing your brand authenticity, download our strategic brand management handbook today.

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