Maintain Your Authenticity
No matter what industry you’re in or what business you manage, the most important component of your business is your reputation and authenticity. When you interact with somebody, they have to make a judgment as to whether or not what you’re offering is worth their time. We live in a fast-paced world, and a lot of businesses try to offer rapid-fire convenience or bare-bones service in exchange for low prices. And there’s nothing wrong with that! But if you’re going that route, be sure you make clear what your customers and audience can expect so they don’t feel disappointed, and be sure you follow through on what you offer. That means making sure you don’t offer more than you can realistically deliver, either!
Alternately, some businesses go the route of charging a premium to deliver a superior level of service. Although the business model is essentially the opposite, the fundamental concept of maintaining clear authenticity remains exactly the same – offer only what you’re sure you can deliver, charge an appropriate amount, and make sure it’s clear what you’re offering and for what price so a potential customer or client can make an informed decision.
It’s a hectic environment at the best of times, and consumers today are completely overwhelmed by a blizzard of offers, sales, coupons, business opportunities, spam, and marketing campaigns. Of course, I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know from your own experience. In the face of all that, your best weapon for standing out isn’t just more of the same, but with a shinier package. It’s transparency and genuine authenticity. I’ve designed and implemented a number of different businesses in very competitive segments, but one thing each had in common was that every one delivered exactly what I said it would. That’s not just the ethical thing to do, and it’s not even merely smart business; it’s practically the only way to differentiate yourself in a world of slick marketing executives and non-stop advertising.
Don’t over think it, however. The key to authenticity isn’t by appearing to be something consistent. The key to authenticity is to actually be consistent and transparent. Focus on your business and your audience. Deliver a consistent product or service and make clear exactly what it is that you have on offer, and price it to provide value both to you and to your audience. And avoid marketing tricks or slick ad techniques; people are wise to those tools and will fight back or tune out. Instead, remember what you learned in grade school – be yourself, tell the truth, and be nice to others. Your customers and clients will remember – and they’ll let their friends know, too.