It seems that we are living in an unprecedented situation in which technology has made significant changes to how businesses work. Moreover, a horrible pandemic and hence economic recession has threatened us seriously. Surviving in such situations is more demanding than we could imagine.
Therefore, not every business can make a living unless they can adapt themselves to the new normal. But adaptation is a far cry from imitating, as imitation will spoil the authenticity and finally will culminate in a big failure in your business life.
It doesn’t matter if your company is running well or bleeding red ink, you’re ought to consider authenticity. In this article, I’m talking about why authenticity is important in different ways in any kind of business and also show you how you can find if you’re doing authentic or not.
Stay with me.
How does Authenticity look like?
Longman dictionary says that “Authenticity” is the quality of being real or true. Very simple. Authenticity is being real. But how can you find if something is authentic?
I think you can figure out authenticity by your inner feelings.
Have you ever seen a post on Instagram and you felt it had made you heave?
What about some success-bloggers who are showing they are rich, while they had rented a fancy car for making their movie?
Or people who claim they are entrepreneurs but never had created a value of 1 dollar?
How did you feel in such situations?
I guess you could feel the inauthenticity very well. When something is a copy or isn’t real, you can sense it with your feelings, but most probably, it would be hard for you to define it in words.
When it comes to running a business, being authentic is surely a prerequisite for sustainable growth. You can’t have a copy strategy, a copy brand story, and copy people and expect real success.
Authenticity Starts from the Top of a Business
In his book, “Good to Great“, Jim Collins explained that how level 5 leaders have made a good-to-great transition in different companies. He also sheds light on how these leaders behave. He says non of them are boastful and they are ambitious to create great results for the company, not themselves. So, leadership is one of the most important factors in a business apart from it is a freelancing business or a huge company.
When leaders behave authentically, this manner will propagate to the lower levels of the company. It is also true for inauthenticity. Would it be possible for a leader who has no former management experience and business acumen, rule a company by just showing off?
Similarly, when top people in a business aren’t suitable for their position and aren’t fit, almost all business affairs would go awry like a domino. Faked leaders, implement copy strategies and hence ineffective decisions. These strategies will be followed by disgusting marketing campaigns that make inauthentic advertisements. Moreover, as faked leaders haven’t the ability to create real value, they would hire a pushy sales team using inauthentic tactics to boost sales.
In short, if you run a business or are head of a team, dedicate some time and figure out how authentic you are.
What Makes Authenticity?
Authenticity in business would be reached if the following parameters are met.
Let’s go back to the Longman Dictionary. The word “Cohesive” means “connected or related in a reasonable way to form a whole”.
A brand is authentic when all the messages it sends are in harmony with each other. You may see a lot of different products from a brand, but their similarity isn’t confined to a logo. There is something in them which connects them.
A brand that is known to target high-status people, would be inauthentic if they suddenly offer a product for the lower-class part of the society.
Authentic leaders have secondary-order rules which make them behave consistently. No matter in which department they are, they have their own leadership style.
A CEO who had insisted on the importance of technology would be inauthentic as soon he despises the impact of AI on his business.
Authentic Marketing Campaigns more or less have similar themes which marked them connected to the formal campaigns and also the companies’ missions.
Authentic salespeople, send the message which they believe and if they weren’t in their position, they would keep this belief.
So, when something is authentic, it sends a series of messages and also evokes some feelings that aren’t in paradox.
Let me elaborate more.
Your Instagram page would seem authentic if you make a new post and give it to your audience as an unknown person, they would figure out that this is yours. This is also true for your blog posts.
Your leadership would seem authentic if you follow some inner rules in new situations like you used to follow.
You are an authentic seller if your customers would have similar feelings about you when you are going to sell them something new.
And so on.
Let’s go for an analogy. Think that you are attending an important meeting, so you want to opt for some suitable clothes. You’ll choose a branded classic shirt and sporty fancy jeans. You’ve paid a lot for both of them. But would it make sense if you wear them together as a set?
So, cohesiveness isn’t enough. You need coherency. For example, you may have a sales team which are acting completely authentic, and also a marketing team that is also authentic. So, now two major parts of your business are uniquely sending consistent messages which are very good. But what will happen if the theme of the messages of these two departments are in contrast?
The answer is authenticity would be spoiled.
So, if each of the units in your business is cohesive, it’s time to ensure that these units are also in harmony. Your strategy, your leadership, your operation, your financial policies, and your sales activities are connected to each other.
If you are a freelancer and offer different gigs, you’ll be authentic if the ways you fulfill needs in such gigs are connected. For example, if you are a freelance writer, other people who know your style in your writing blog posts, can guess your style in writing emails.
If you have a small company and launch a new product, experts can guess how your marketing campaigns would be based on your corporation strategies.
In short, having a unique reality in every aspect of your business is a must for being coherent and hence authentic.
You, the business owner, have some personal values. Also, your company has a mission.
Now, if any action, decision, or behavior would be something opposite to your personal values or your company’s mission, the authenticity of your business is lost.
You can’t value nature and work on some non-eco-friendly products simultaneously.
If you respect learning and don’t have a plan for training your staff, you’re inauthentic.
Micromanaging and having a passion for innovation are irreconcilable.
So, making your personal values and company mission clear is a sin qua non for having an authentic business.
All in all, we are living in a world that competition is significantly tough and customers are savvier. They aren’t content with quality and quantity anymore. They need authentic experiences to trust a brand and buy. This is the main reason why authenticity is more important than at any time.
Authenticity in your business would matter when each of the business units you have, acts consistently. Meanwhile, all of these business units are performing in harmony with each other. Finally, any message you send via your business won’t be far from your personal values and the company’s mission.
I’m asking you to leave me comments below and talk about how authenticity is in your mind? How much do you pay attention to it?