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3 Lessons for Building Authentic Brands

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Now more than ever, it’s expected that brands are ‘authentic.’

 

We hear this a lot these days. ‘Be authentic.’ You might feel pressured, even intimidated, and think you need to do a complete 180, but what we’ve learned by working with brands across a diverse range of industries is that authenticity can’t simply be manufactured. It’s not something you can buy or a problem that can be solved with a temporary fix. It has to come from within, and it must be true and honest to who you are.

Every person, every brand has a story to tell. As designers, we’re uniquely positioned to help uncover what that story is and express it. It’s the foundation from which we build and rebuild brands—ones that haven’t hit the market yet to ones that have histories so far entrenched they’re often reluctant to take on the challenge. 

Authenticity. It’s a simpler science than you’d think. And here are three key takeaways we’ve learned through years of working with successful brands in diverse categories. 

 

1. RESURFACE YOUR PURPOSE

Identifying what’s truly unique to you may seem like a daunting task, but oftentimes, it starts with looking inwards to see what’s already there and uncovering your purpose. Take it back to your roots and refocus your attention on why you came to fruition in the first place. What will follow will be genuine and ownable.

 

2. LISTEN AND LEARN

Being an authentic brand is no different from any other human relationship, both with oneself and others. It requires the ability to listen—to customers, employees, and everyone else in between. You can’t force your message to fit in any dialogue in hopes that something sticks; it needs to resonate with those you’re speaking to, and more importantly, those you’re speaking with. Be open to hearing what people have to say—not only listening to what’s being said but also learning from it and responding in a relatable way.

 

3. BE CONSISTENT

Above all else, your brand needs to be, and act, as one—and own it when you’re not. You can grow and mature and change along the way, so long as what you’re doing remains true to yourself, but you must act consistently. Establishing your brand story and values helps keep things in perspective and sets up a shared understanding of what everybody associated with your brand—across all products and services—is doing and why. It’s the moral compass that will guide all subsequent decisions.

 

Especially this last year, people have yearned for transparency and truth in all facets of life. As the world begins to re-normalize, brands need to connect—and reconnect—with their audiences in new ways. Leading with your purpose and values will create meaningful connections, enabling an authentic brand experience at every touchpoint. 

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