A tribute to authenticity on social media

Long gone are the days of blog posts asking whether or not your brand should be on social media; most organisations would agree it has a place – but when you look at the content and tone of some incredibly successful social media accounts, it is easy to be intimidated.

The Australian coffee scrub Frank Body essentially created its business and customer base through the image-sharing platform Instagram, and has 693,000 Instagram followers.

Almost 2 million people worldwide follow Taco Bell on Twitter to receive content like this.

You may have already heard us at Pesel & Carr harp on about authenticity and there’s good reason why. Authenticity is the number one factor that consumers find most important in a business; communicating honestly about products and services (91%) and environmental impact and sustainability measures (87%) globally ranked higher than product utility (61%), brand appeal (60%) and popularity (39%).

Being authentic also positively impacts the bottom line. The same study reported 63% of global consumers would buy from a company they consider to be authentic, over and above competitors.

How can communicators and business leaders incorporate this key lesson into social media?

Before launching a brand on social media, it’s important to understand and review the brand personality and, just as importantly, to document it. This ensures its consistent use throughout all marketing-communications materials, whoever creates them.

Brand personality is how a brand portrays itself, and more importantly, how its consumers and stakeholders perceive it.

It forms the foundations of everything a brand communicates; the tone of voice in marketing materials, the style of imagery, how its leaders present themselves, the issues it engages with and the list goes on…

Beyond marketing, brand is reflected in how staff members are recruited and treated, the level of customer service and even the product or service offering.

A strong, authentic, reputable brand personality is as unique as a fingerprint.

Standing out from competitors starts long before a brand hits ‘publish’ online. There is no blanket ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ personality for industries; for example not all jewellery companies or sports leagues have the same tone and traits.  What is important is that your brand honestly portrays who you are.

For example, your brand may be understated like Tiffany & Co.

Or inspirational like AFL Women’s.

Both have a large and engaged social media following.

The importance of brand personality crosses every sector, including not-for-profit, especially when you consider there are 600,000 charities nationwide. They are all competing for a share of the more than $5 billion Australians donate a year – and they are often targeting the same pool of donors, supporters and influencers.

Below is a snapshot of examples which highlight our take on the brand personality of some well-known NFPs.

Brotherhood of St Laurence is factual and sensible.

World Vision Australia comes across as friendly and compassionate.

Cancer Council Australia is authoritative and informative.

And Lifeline Australia is gentle and uplifting.

What all these relatively successful not-for-profits have in common is an authentic brand personality. Their tone, visual style and messaging are unique and come from the fundamental purpose of the organisation; what problem it is solving and who it solves the problem for.

The difference in brand personalities within a sector similarly applies to commercial companies…

Virgin is bubbly and relatable.

Qantas is practical and informative.

And Etihad Airways is luxurious and sophisticated.

With certain brands, being blokey works, for example Sportsbet’s Facebook profile with a 775,000-strong following.

At Pesel & Carr, we help clients articulate their brand personality and organisational DNA. We start with the basics – exactly who they are, what they do, why they do it and what makes them special – and move on to refine the tone of voice and language that suits them best.

Staying true to your DNA is the key to social media success.