By: Matthew Kaiserman, Junior Account Executive

In today’s marketing landscape, brands are forced to be more than… well, a brand. They are being asked to adopt a platform of values that mirrors that of their audience; to stand up for important causes and play a leading role in social activism. But most importantly, consumers today want to support brands that are authentic and blaze their own path rather than sticking with the status quo.

A new study shows that consumers would not care if 77 percent of the world’s brands ceased to exist. This is a startling figure further proving the need for companies to find an authentic and touching message that will deeply connect them to a devoted base of consumers. Brands have to find a way to stand out from the crowd and build a trusted bond with their audience. Those that do not will fall into that 77 percent. Check out a few reasons brands should seek to form an authentic message:

Connect with their audience beyond the transaction

Social activism is no longer something that brands can afford to avoid. In fact, 55 percent of consumers believe that companies have a larger responsibility than the U.S. government in creating a better future for people. This does not mean jumping on every trend or making a statement on every news story, but rather honing in on causes that matter to the brand you have created and to the consumers that trust you. We stress this message to our clients about the importance of truly connecting to your audience. A great example of this is from Patagonia earlier this year donated their $10 million tax break to raise awareness for climate change. Patagonia is a premier brand for outdoor enthusiasts so this move not only generated positive publicity, but further connected them to their audience in a more meaningful way than a promotion.

Authenticity leads to greater ROI

Not only does being a transparent and honest brand lead to a better image in the press, but it also translates to value in sales volume. Consumers are putting a lot of stake into brands they trust, especially the Gen Z and Millennial demographics who make up a dominant percentage of the market’s spending power. But brands have to be careful in the ways they approach brand activism. For example, last year Pepsi’s controversial ad featuring Kendall Jenner severely missed the mark and led to major backlash for the brand. Trying to force Pepsi into the Black Lives Matter movement was a very poor move that further backs the authentic brand approach.

Separate yourself from the pack

We preach to our clients the importance of authenticity and how without a concise message your brand could get lost in the shuffle. We onboard all clients with a brand vision workshop to make sure we craft a concise message behind their brand. This includes developing a defined target audience to ensure that the actions of the brand are aligned with those who support it. This targeted approach will make sure that a brand is not stuck in the same mindset as the majority but rather finding a new angle to approach their industry.

Authenticity is now a determining factor in the ways consumers view brands. Brands that approach this with a clear strategy will be able to set themselves apart and form a close bond with their audiences. The brands that don’t will most likely be left behind. Consumers want a relationship with companies on a more profound level than simply transactional. A failure to do so will lead to a loss of market share to the new wave of brands embracing this movement.

Featured in Agility PR