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MARKETING MOJO: Building Authenticity in a Small Business

Have you ever walked into a salon and seen the stylists with unkempt, messy or badly cut hair?  Or gone to a financial or legal advisor who couldn't manage their own portfolios?
These days, when we're looking for a new service provider or small business to fit a need in our personal or professional lives, one of the first things we do is look at reviews and testimonials from other customers online.  We want to make sure that we're getting the best possible product or service, and an unbiased review can make a big difference in how we make those decisions.
While reviews and testimonials are super important, they aren't the only thing small businesses should be focusing on - particularly when you're just getting started, and haven't developed your customer base yet.  To build a small business, you have to be authentic - meaning you have to stay true to what it is that drives your business and makes you unique.
Building authenticity in a brand is not the result of creating a warts-and-all portrait; instead, it comes from focusing on what you do best, and then inhabiting and communicating that in every aspect of what you do. Without that consistency, you create a dissonance that potential customers can sense-and that will likely make them walk away. Authenticity in branding means that you don't just talk the talk, but you also walk the walk.
A lot of people think that being "authentic" also means accepting and owning your flaws as well as your strengths, but the truth is, at least in a business setting, we should be constantly striving to overcome our weaknesses.  In reality authenticity in a brand really means consistency, defining your core mission or statement as a brand and sticking to it and making sure that your company reflects that mission in every facet of your business.
Consistency leads to credibility which is also a big factor for being an authentic brand.  One of the best ways to give yourself credibility is by doing what you do best - for yourself.  Whether your business is social media, landscaping or finance, you want to be showcasing the work you do for your own business or yourself personally, so that others will see your dedication.
Authenticity is key to building a strong small business, regardless of your industry.  Consistency and credibility in your work and your message are the best ways to build an authentic brand image so that you can build working relationships with your clients and earn their trust.

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