Authenticity in Business: Overused or Crucial for
Is authenticity an overused word in business today? Is it crucial for entrepreneurs to shine in their authenticity, or has the word become so jaded that it no longer has meaning?
The speed at which information flows in our current environment has created a culture with a short attention span and a craving for that which is authentic. No longer can marketers or advertisers get away with simple jingles or shady claims. People are savvy and they move quickly. Thus, for entrepreneurs it’s crucial to understand how an audience thinks and responds, in addition to addressing the problems for which they are searching solutions to.
The thing about the actual word “authentic” is that it rarely is. Have you ever seen a sign for “Inauthentic Mexican Food”? Of course you haven’t, though at this point it might just bring in business due to the curiosity factor. The Mexican restaurant signs all say “Authentic Mexican Food”. But is it really authentic? What makes it so, and more importantly, do you believe it?
Authenticity for entrepreneurs starts deep in the foundation of the business, and is something best communicated with actions as opposed to words. Your audience will resonate with authenticity. But saying it doesn’t make it so. Authenticity in business is communicated on a level much deeper than just the word.
What must an entrepreneurial business do that communicates authenticity to their market without screaming it from the rooftops?
The answer is found at the beginning. It is found in the mission of the company (or in the case of solopreneurs, in the individual). It is found in the Unique Value Proposition (UVP) that is developed through extensive query of core values, meaning, purpose, expertise and solution orientation. It is not enough to just have a cool product or offer a good service. The populace is searching for depth and clarity. (OK, maybe not for things like snow shovels – though a shovel with an awesome story, mission, and back-protecting functionality will definitely be noticed!)
Building a solid foundation to support a growing entrepreneurial venture is key to sustainability and authenticity in your business. It’s not necessarily easy to define what you and your company really stand for, but it’s in that definition that your audience feels the depth of your values, integrity and truth. When your business portrays that it has a solid foundation based on real core values, a mission and purpose combined with proven experience, comfort with your message and your product increases. Those companies that learn to market from this deeper place, and then tune directly into the needs of their customers or clients will shine.
Authenticity in business is a term that is overused when the word itself screams out from billboards, signs, brochures and websites. But the actual value of authenticity in business is more important than ever before, and extremely crucial for entrepreneurs to experience success.