Whether it’s through personalised emails, exclusive discounts, or promoting loyalty schemes, most, if not all food brands are looking to leverage customer loyalty. However, with 94 percent of consumers admitting they would be more inclined to show loyalty to a brand that showcases full transparency, the easiest way to attract and maintain your customers is through authentic branding.
In today’s digitally connected environment, consumers are craving a taste of something genuine, making it almost impossible to succeed without being honest about your food brand – that includes showing how and where you source your produce from and not sugar coating any mistakes you make.
In this blog, we share what exactly authentic branding is and how your food business can build stronger connections with its customers.
What is authentic branding?
An authentic brand is one that decides to be open and honest about all elements of the business. From ingredients and packaging, to behind the scenes content and product insight, 56 percent of customers admitted that additional product information builds trust in a brand and inspires loyalty.
Simply put, authentic branding is your opportunity to express your values and vision to your customers and put your promises into practice. Companies that convey this through marketing and packaging are more inclined to stand out from the crowd and be one step ahead.
Why does brand authenticity attract modern shoppers?
There are many reasons why authentic branding thrives, especially with Gen-Z and Millennial customers seeking out organic and real brands. Modern shoppers want to scratch beneath the surface of a food product and uncover exactly what’s in it, where ingredients are sourced from, the ethical implications, and what values are behind the process. With 86 percent of consumers saying that authenticity is a key factor when deciding what brands they like and support, what is the attraction?
Shared values – The bottom line is that if a food brand shares the same values, views, and speaks about issues the customer cares about, they will be more inclined to put their trust in the brand.
Humanising the brand – Consumers look for honesty, so portraying unrealistic and false content across digital platforms will result in them disengaging with your brand. Humanise your brand and build a stronger connection with your customers.
Differentiation – If your brand is following the crowd to try and retain customers, this will only get you so far. If you wear your company’s heart on your sleeve, you’re brave, and stand on your own two feet with confidence and creativity, then you’re easier to trust, generating long-term brand loyalty.
A prime example of effective and authentic branding is frying range manufacturers, Mallinson’s of Oldham. Established in 1920, Mallinson’s of Oldham has manufactured quality frying ranges in Britain for more than 100 years, so this experience was put at the forefront of the branding. The brand’s new website design shines the light on their quality guarantee, features success stories and a thorough FAQ to cover all bases. Take a look at how Eat Marketing raised the profile of the brand, effectively communicating the unique and transparent values, USPs, price promise, and high-quality service to their customers.
How to convey brand authenticity
It can be challenging to develop an effective authentic brand strategy. It’s all about showcasing your human side and emphasising genuine experiences in your work. Authentic brands don’t pretend to be perfect, they roll with the punches and actively communicate with their customers that they’re working to improve.
Here are some key things to help you on your path to brand authenticity:
Build your authenticity on social media – This is the best place to embrace your authentic branding strategy. Authenticity in marketing is part of what makes social channels so successful for companies in the first place. If you’re honest with your customers on social media, in turn you’ll gain their trust and will therefore generate real-time testimonials from people who genuinely understand your business.
Share your brand story – Nobody knows your food brand better than you, so share it with your customers. Express your values, what you’re offering, and why your customers should trust you. Modern shoppers love hearing the roots of a business as it humanises your brand, building a connection with your customers. This will ignite the trust and encourage customers to invest time and money in your business.
Show, don’t tell – One of the most important lessons of authentic branding is to show what you do, so don’t be afraid to show your operations. Customers love to see behind-the-scenes content as it gives them an insight into your brand and the hard work that goes into preparing your product – actions speak louder than words.
Hold yourself accountable – No business is perfect, so don’t build your online presence around this idea. Everyone makes mistakes so when you do, hold your hands up and turn it into a positive, your customers will admire you for it.
Don’t shy away from uncomfortable FAQs – Having an FAQ page is a great way for customers to find out more on your food brand but there can be some uncomfortable questions to answer. Ensure you’re as honest as possible in your response as any white lies will catch you out further down the line. You could even get more interactive with your customers and host a Q&A on your Instagram so your customers can ask anything they want.
Thriving in authenticity is the plant-based brand, Naughty Vegan. Being a vegan product specialising in delicious pastries, tasty party food and indulgent desserts, the brand perfectly targets the ever-expanding modern shopper market. Naughty Vegan is honest about what goes into the products and acknowledges the fact that vegan is considered healthy, however, they’re openly expressing that their brand is a treat and a little bit naughty. By injecting their personality and values across social media, the brand is a hit with Gen-Z and Millennials. Take a look at how Eat Marketing created a new brand identity and brought the quirky personality to life.
A trend that’s here to stay
There are many trends that come and go within the food industry, but this is one set in stone for the foreseeable. With brands being at an all time low for trust, now is the time for them to reinvent themselves and lay everything on the table.
With customers becoming more invested in organic content and value-driven decisions on their purchases, making small changes to your brand strategy can see big results to win over the modern shoppers. Once authentic branding is achieved and your customers’ curiosities are satisfied, your food brand will begin to retain that all important customer loyalty.