In today's overheated world of 24-7 marketing hype, buyers of all types are seeking AUTHENTICITY in making their choices. You don't have to look further than the success of sites like YELP, Trip Advisor, or the review sections of Amazon to realize that we are all looking for the "real inside stuff" when determining where we are going to spend our money.
Studies also show that we are likely to also trust the opinions of strangers through social media more than the hype from various marketing platforms. However we determine it, we all want to know the truth about the brands we are choosing. We want the brands we choose to be what they represent themselves to be.
If you're a tabletop manufacturer positioning your company or brand as a high-quality, high-end manufacturer of wineglasses or dinnerware and in reality, your product is so-so or you give a low quality customer service experience, chances are you're going to be perceived as a less than authentic brand, no matter how slick the website, brochures, and pictures that you had printed are.
And, if you are a tabletop dealer who touts their high levels of customer service, but are perennially out of stock, have average quality sales and customer service staff, can't provide the right solutions for your operator customers, and generally is only interested in selling more stuff without regard to helping your customers be more successful...you're going to hard pressed to get people to believe your brand message of customer service. You're NOT as advertised. You're not AUTHENTIC. In today's internet world, there's too many choices for operators to buy products from for tabletop dealers to get away with being less than AUTHENTIC.
Why does AUTHENTICITY in a brand matter?
1. Authenticity builds trust. Consumers, B2B buyers...all of us, want to believe in our brand choices. We want to be able to trust the decisions we make ...whether it's the restaurant we choose for dinner, the wineglass we choose to serve our wines in, or the dealer source we choose to buy that wineglass from. Nobody likes to feel like they made a poor buying decision and that's what happens when we find out that we made a decision to go with a "less than authentic"choice. Make your customers feel good about their decision to go with you. Be AUTHENTIC.
2. Building trust through being authentic builds brand loyalty. All of us tend to return to the brands we trust when spending our money and retaining loyal customers is a lot easier - and cheaper - than gaining new customers. Build loyal customers. And show them you appreciate them. Be AUTHENTIC.
3. Being authentic is easier. Being who you really are is always easier - and, often less expensive - than pretending to be something you're not. Don't try to "X" if you are really "Y". If you are really "Y" no amount of marketing hype or slick advertising is going to make you "X". So, just go be "Y"....and be a great "Y".
But, most importantly, be AUTHENTIC.
Finally, while bad news may travel faster than good news - positive reviews on brands still travel.
A positive review on YELP or TripAdvisor helps make first time restaurant and hotel customers more confident that they're making a good dining or lodging choice. Chefs certainly talk about tabletop brands and a positive comment from a colleague or friend goes far further in helping make a choice on which tabletop products to choose....and where to get them ... than any trade show booth or literature a manufacturer may produce.
And, social media is today's word of mouth when it comes to AUTHENTICITY.
So, whatever you are, your company, or your brand is....be sincere. Be honest.
Your customers will appreciate it more than you know.
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