Authentic Marketing sucked me in. Well not really, I have always been myself and honest in how I present myself, so I wanted to write about how I have discovered being your true-self attracts your ideal customers and can clearly identify your uniqueness to your marketplace. I started writing an article on authenticity in business last December and was only a few lines into the piece before I got stuck and lost my focus. A day or two later I was shouted a coffee by brand expert (I’m saying expert because she won’t) Michel Hogan. Michel writes weekly for SmartCompany and I am an unabashed fan of her articles that challenge the status quo of how we define what a brand is. Michel didn’t disappoint in real life, and was challenging my thinking from the beginning. When I mentioned I was writing an article on Authentic Marketing, Michel challenged me to put “authenticity” into context and this exercice has changed how I relate to all “buzzwords”.
In essence, Michel asked of me: “How would (you) define a strategy to implement Authentic Marketing to the CEO of [enter major, multi-national corporation].” Of course I was stuck! How exactly would I?
Michel’s next point: You can authentically be a horrible person. Being authentic doesn’t lend itself to being a good person or a good business. And of course it doesn’t. We know people who are quite unabashed about not being particularly kind or helpful in all areas of life, and that is them being very authentic.
So I re-defined Authentic Marketing as “being yourself” and true to your convictions, morals and values. But business owners should be doing this already, and “being yourself” doesn’t make much of a buzzword! So I ended up being kind of lost in the point of my original article and thought I would write on that very fact.
Marketers are fabulous at building hype. It is easy to create a buzzword and tell the marketplace they need to be doing it. It’s also easy to not actually define what the words mean in a practical sense. What’s harder is to truly define your actions and affect change in the marketplace. It’s hard to influence people for the better by using clear language with context and acting on what you say you will do. So thank you Michel for continually challenging my thinking to make me an even better marketer for my clients. Re-defining my language was a fabulous refresher lesson for me because I thought I was pretty savvy in not getting swept-up in hype. Beware the shiny object, as many will caution, and which I will write on next time. If you would like to read Michel’s article on our chat about Authentic Marketing, read it here. And if I get more clarity on how to define “Being Yourself” in a broad context, I’ll let you know. But maybe it’s best for you to define it for yourself, live and breathe it in your work, and be brave to align your business’ marketing with it.