Brand authenticity is quickly becoming more than a catchphrase for savvy-minded marketers looking to cash in on the very human need for transparency. Yes, people have always held a healthy disdain for the phony, fake and insincere among us, and it’s natural that some suspicion carry over to the business world. But pair that distrust with the rise of the Millennial generation and “brand authenticity” becomes a necessity rather than a luxury for companies hoping to turn a profit in the upcoming 2020s.
Millennials (also know as Generation Y) are the seemingly carefree cohort following Generation X, who have now surpassed all other living generations in population and purchasing power. In the next year (2018), it is estimated that Millennials will have $3.39 trillion of spending power. And to earn their money, Millennials are demanding that companies earn their trust. They’ve grown up in an age where technology afforded them information with only a few simple clicks. Everything was evident and accessible then, and Millennials expect the same now. For this reason, today’s businesses need to appreciate the power of Generation Y’s need for authenticity as it relates to their own profitability.
Improving brand authenticity and trust doesn’t need to be daunting, though. Consider using market research to foster transparency for your business in the following ways:
Use social media and online research communities to observe fans and consumers. Conduct surveys and interviews. Listen to the people talking about you. Learn what they like and want and think, as well as how they say it. Understand their lingo so you can effectuate the remaining four objectives: to communicate, respond, nurture and engage them.
Send out a newsletter, start a blog, develop a web presence, cater events. Millennials need to trust you. So let them know you. Do this without an ulterior motive. People believe you are more authentic if they feel you’re not expecting something in return.
According to Entrepreneur, 83% of consumers appreciate when a company replies to them on social media. Don’t just monitor feedback from your research; address it! Timely, appropriate and personalized responses to queries, statements and even complaints show consumers that you hear them and respect them enough to begin dialogue, establishing a foundation for trust.
Trustworthy companies nurture the values they espouse. They know it shouldn’t always be about the bottom line; they want to make the world a better place for consumers, as well. Market research can help your business uncover meaningful triggers for your consumers. By then addressing those issues, you can demonstrate a genuine interest in and support for your consumer base that transcends ROI, showing your consumers that you value them and the greater good.
Organize an insight community. Use focus groups and bulletin boards to interact with consumers. Vet potential products in select markets. Banter on Facebook. “62% of Millennials say that if a brand engages with them on social networks, they are more likely to become a loyal customer” (Forbes.com). Take a step beyond merely responding to consumers; instead, engage them. Enlist feedback from and provide incentives to your consumers; those are the keys to building a lasting and trusting relationship with them.
When consumers fully know a company and believe in its authenticity, they tend to support it more. Never is it truer than in the age of the Millennial generation, which values transparency over content and demands a true relationship rather than trite advertising to promote patronage. Communications for Research (CFR) has 20 years experience helping businesses demonstrate their own unique selves to the world and establish trust in the marketplace. Contact us to see how we can help your company.
Feel free to also download our FREE eBook, "How to Communicate The Value of Market Research To Your Clients", for additional information.