Actions speak louder than words. Even if you’ve created the perfect message with the best intentions, if your organization isn’t backing that message with action, your message may come across as disingenuous or opportunistic. It’s no longer enough to say you support employee growth — you have to show it. If you want to participate in Pride Month, it’s not enough to slap a rainbow on your website — you should highlight how your organization supports the LGBTQIA2S+ community in real actionable ways. Especially in today’s age of market saturation and digital overload, consumers are choosing companies that are making a positive impact in the world.
The best communications initiatives are those backed by strong belief and expertise, and the best campaigns are launched by organizations that already have skin in the game (whatever that game may be). For example, if you are already supporting employees through professional development, mental health days, and mentorship coaching, go ahead and work those ideas into your campaigns. It will come across as genuine because customers will see that you’re actually doing the work to back up what you’re saying.
Listening: it’s an essential characteristic of a polite, successful, well-rounded person, but organizations also need to practice their listening skills. Listen to what your consumers are telling you about what they want to see, what they like and dislike about your organization, what their expectations of you are. By spending some extra time listening to consumers you’ll be able to anticipate their needs and wants and offer them content and solutions that will actually benefit them.
Consider the example of TOMS. They established a buzzworthy program where, for every pair of shoes sold, they donated a pair to a child in a poor country. Great, right? Maybe not so much. As it turned out, TOMS learned that the shoes had no significant impact on the lives of the children who had received them. Sure, the kids liked the shoes and used them to play outside but they were still living in poverty and dependent on charity. Apparently, TOMS has listened: as of Spring 2021 they have an entirely new business model, designed to appeal to Gen-Z: they donate fully one-third of their profits to what they call “Grassroots Good” — economic and social solutions “designed to address a community’s unique needs, making them scalable and sustainable.”
(Read more about this rebranding and refocus in Forbes, here.)
Time + Effort = Authentic Connections.
Building a brand that’s known for being authentic doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and effort to build a connection with your audience. Fostering relationships with your audience does take time but is so worth it. When your consumer feels a connection to the organization that’s based on actions and values, they’re more likely to continually interact with you.
A trusting relationship like this is built by consistent messaging over time, when every instance in which you interact with the consumer is an authentic interaction with a message that reinforces the action.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: actions speak louder than words. When your organization is genuine in its communications, you’ll encourage connection, trust, and integrity. Seen some great examples of authentic communications? Let us know in the comments!