With consumer expectations rising, many brands are working to deliver more customized, personalized experiences where possible, while trying to also provide openness and transparency in their consumer interactions.
But many miss the point, or misinterpret what it is that potential customers are seeking. In this episode of the Social Zoom Factor podcast, I explain the difference between authenticity and transparency, and why it's important that you focus on the right level of each to earn trust and build relationships with your audiences online.
Take a listen to the podcast below, or read on for an overview of the key points.
Authenticity vs Transparency
With marketers and business owners being challenged to make their brands feel more personable, and more human online, a few of the questions we hear most are:
- "What do I talk about?"
- "How do I know how much is too much?"
- "What do I share?"
- "What if my competition is watching me?"
- "What if my boss is listening?"
- "What if our board of directors is watching us?"
- "Do people really want to know what I ate for lunch?"
No, not all people want to know what you ate for lunch. Some may but most don't. Depending on how connected you are with your community they may be interested in what you eat, where you go for breakfast.
However, fortunately, they aren't going to determine if they follow you, like you or buy from you based upon if you ate a croissant or an egg sandwich.
If you take a look at the questions above, the root of them is “how much do I share and with who?”
To understand this, let's first dig into the definition of authenticity and transparency.
1. not false or copied; genuine; real: an authentic antique.
2. having the origin supported by unquestionable evidence authenticated; verified: an authentic document ofo the Middle ages; an authentic work of the old master.
3. entitled to acceptance or belief because of agreement with known facts or experience; reliable; trustworthy
1. easily detected or seen thru.
2. readily understood.
3. characterized by visibility or accessibility of information, especially concerning business practices.
Essentially, transparency is how much you share, while authenticity is the truth behind your words and actions.
The biggest mistake people make when it comes to building their social brand is blurring these two words. They often end up in a branding cycle, where they never feel comfortable sharing. So they just end up sounding like corporate speak 24/7 - or they might do the opposite and share everything including where they buy their toilet paper.
Many confuse transparency with authenticity and think that if they don't share the same thing with everyone, then they're not authentic or real. This couldn't be further from the truth.
Authenticity does not require same level of transparency with every relationship
The truth is that you will, and should, have different relationships with different people. Relationships are human to human, and are not based on cookie cutter conversations or content frameworks.
It's this element that makes relationships so special and unique - it's the type and varying level of information shared between two human beings that builds trust, and enables us to nurture interactions that bring both personal and professional benefit.
But just because we have a unique relationship with each person, that doesn't mean it's a fake, or that either one of us is not being authentic. We all connect in different ways.
We share different details about our brands, our personal lives with one another, different layers of transparency depending on who we are, industry norms, who's in our community and most importantly who the recipient/person is on the other end. How much we share may very well determine over time how the relationship is nurtured, how close it becomes and the benefits achieved.
Know Yourself. Know Your Audience
To understand this, and to truly inspire and connect with the people within your communities, you have to know yourself, as well as your audience.
Who's in your community? Who's your audience and why they should give a rip about what you have to say? What do they need and want, what keeps them up at night? What problems do they have in business and life?
To connect with people, you have to also know who you are, what you have to offer them, and how you can help solve their problems. Becoming a human brand isn't going to happen overnight - it demands an investment of time, resources, people and planning in order to nurture real and authentic relationships.
- Exploring the difference between 'authenticity' and 'transparency'
- Building an authentic brand online
- Nurturing relationships
- How much is too much?
- The importance of authenticity and transparency in earning trust and nurturing relationships
- 13 characteristics of human brands
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A version of this post was first published on Pam Moore's blog.