The American scholar and author Brené Brown gives a fantastic definition of authenticity, which I think is apt when applied to authenticity in business. She says:
“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”
I see authenticity in business as just as important as it is in our personal lives. A business is reliant on both its consumers and its employees. Both want to be dealing with a company which is real and honest. Get this wrong and you run the risk of losing everything which makes you successful.
With the digital age removing so many barriers to entry, there are hundreds of new websites and businesses launching every day. Consumers want to know they’re dealing with a trustworthy organisation.
But authenticity in the digital age is more than just trustworthiness. We are all looking for connection, purpose and meaning. We see countless messages from organisations telling us how to feel, where to go, what to buy. Companies had got used to a teacher-student relationship, which wasn’t an equal relationship at all.
In the digital age, consumers demand much more authenticity and transparency from businesses. They want to know who a business really is and they demand to be heard.
Authenticity starts with something quite uncomfortable – knowing exactly who you are, and what you stand for.
Our online marketing agency fundamentally believes in honesty, transparency and excellence. Knowing this, and staying close to it with everything we do, has helped us have long-standing clients and employees, whilst also staying focussed on driving great results.
If you’re looking to gain more authenticity within your business, here is my advice: be honest with your staff and your clients. Genuinely care about how people feel, without judgment. Be generous with praise, and honest with your appraisal. Be vulnerable. All these things are steps towards becoming a truly authentic business.