Brand Authenticity is Critical to Consumer Product Success
Many of you have already seen the TED talk by Simon Sinek called “Start with Why.” If you haven’t yet, I highly recommend it. The core message is that people care more about businesses’ beliefs and core values then what they offer. Examples of this appear all around us when businesses seem to pop out of nowhere and start to take over a market that many believed couldn’t be competed against. This concept is especially true when it comes to the natural market. Authenticity starts from the beginning and should ring through all aspects of your business if you ever hope to succeed. It is more important than ever to not only have a great product but to understand why anyone should care.
Why are you bringing this product to market?
If your reason is to make money, it is easy to see why people won’t care. If your reason is authentic, like wanting to solve a problem, challenge a status quo or fulfilling a demand, then that is something people can get behind. Your message needs to convey that.
Message mapping your why?
A message map is a process used to create compelling, relevant messages for various audience segments and for organizational alignment. A message map is a visual representation of your idea on one piece of paper. It is a powerful tool to help you pitch your message.
Step 1: At the center of the message map will be your core value proposition. If you cannot define your brand within 21 words with a core value proposition, then you need to refine and define your brand. There are a million things that may make your brand unique, but there is one key reason that your business is different. The more time you spend defining this message, the easier it will be for people to understand why your business is different. If your message is not authentic, then people will see that, and you will join the ranks of the billions of products that didn’t make it. The core value proposition will be the one thing, above all else, that you want people to take away from your product. If you can’t define it in under 140 characters, then you can’t expect people to easily understand your message in the seconds it will take them to make up their mind to either explore further or to write it off and go on to the next product.
Step 2: Support your core value proposition with three supporting messages. If you are not familiar with the rule of thirds, then I highly recommend you read our article “The Rule of Three.” These key supporting messages are essential to your core values.
Step 3: Your core value proposition is in the center of the page with your three supporting messages below. Now you will want to reinforce your three supporting messages with three sub-points such as stories, examples, or meaningful statistics.
How can I be sure I got the WHY right?
Thanks to A/B testing, you can test this message throughout your marketing activities (such as social media, press releases, direct marketing, advertising and presentations). A/B testing or multivariate testing is when you test one element of your message against another by presenting them both to half your audience and measuring the results of individual activities, gathering input from customer acquisitions. This will not only allow you to choose between the two messages but to tweak your message to align with your values and with those of your potential customers.
Why is more than a message!
Once you have defined your values through your “why”, it is important that it is more then just a message. Your business needs to be focused on those values through every aspect of your business. A values-based organization (VBO) is a living, breathing culture of shared core values among all employees. This is different from the traditional structure which is a more machine-like, business approach that focuses on an authoritarian type relationship or rigid organizational structure.
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