It’s clear that authenticity has become more important now than ever before: with digital marketing consumers are not just more involved, but more jaded to traditional marketing that may be received as disingenuous. How can you develop a more authentic voice for your brand, and reap the benefits of developing a trusted, connected reputation with your customers?

On the surface, authenticity sounds easy: just be yourself. But if it’s all so simple, why do so many brands struggle to reveal their authentic selves? It may be that brands have lost sight of their mission, or simply don’t know how to effectively communicate trust and individuality.

These resources offer a master class in building authenticity and brand reputation. You’ll find essential authenticity tips, recommendations for building trust, and even examples of how individual businesses have developed their authenticity to find success.

  1. David Sherry on the Power of Authenticity (How to Build a Rocket Ship): Not convinced that your brand needs authenticity? David Sherry explains just how powerful and important it can be. Listen to this podcast episode to see how he’s used high-touch engagement to build their subscriber list by 10,000 a month.
  2. What is ‘Authenticity’ in Marketing? (Digiday): Digiday tells us that we are now in an age of unprecedented consumer empowerment, and marketing that is anything less than authentic just doesn’t work anymore. In this resource, you’ll see what top brand executives, including those from Sony, KFC, and Volvo, have to say about building an authentic brand.
  3. What Makes an Authentic Brand? (Meyer Bennett Creative): Do you know an authentic brand when you see one? Meyer Bennett Creative explains how you can communicate authenticity in your branding with words and images that show exactly what your business does. See how true authenticity is unique, transparent, passionate, and clear, and learn how you can integrate these concepts into your authentic branding strategy.
  4. 5 Reasons Why Few Brands Master Social Media Authenticity (Parker White): Can your brand master authenticity on social media? Find out why it’s such a challenge for so many, and how you can overcome difficulties to foster genuine engagement in social media.
  5. Preserve Your Authenticity and Stay Transparent (Chris Brogan): This post is from 2008, but it’s still very relevant today. Chris Brogan warns that while product placement is generally an acceptable form of advertising, it’s essential that you’re up front and completely clear about what’s happening. Media companies shouldn’t hide behind product placements, but rather, disclose promotions to stay authentic and trustworthy.
  6. To Create an Authentic Brand, The Boba Guys Keep it Real (Good Magazine): See how The Boba Guys have used a simple mantra of “Keep it real, son,” to deliver authenticity and stick to their brand’s mission statement to bring the world quality boba milk tea.
  7. Truth Will Out — Why Authenticity is the Key to Growing Your Business (KISSmetrics): KISSmetrics encourages businesses to understand one simple truth: consumers are much more savvy in the digital age, and if you want to reach them, you’ll have to be real. People are searching for genuine experiences, ones that are “convincingly honest and authentic.” Businesses can create value and successful marketing by simply being real: be consistent, trustworthy, charitably involved, responsive, and delivering on your promises.
  8. Authentic Brand Storytelling Through User-Generated Content (Seen Moment): In this resource, you’ll find out why asking customers to do your marketing is a great way to tell an authentic story about your brand. The article explains how you can ask customers to contribute in ways that are outside of the box and offer an interesting way to connect with both current and future customers.
  9. Trust Me: Four Practices for Brands to Be Authentic in a Big Way (D. Cohn Communications): What exactly is authenticity when we’re talking about brands? D. Cohn Communications explains why authenticity is all about walking the talk, building trust, and being human. It’s essential that brands close the trust gap by investing time in customers, owning up to mistakes, offering respect, and lowering barriers to entry.
  10. Make Content Marketing Authentic: The Case of Customer Stories (MarketingProfs): MarketingProfs explains why businesses need to deliver a great story; and not just a great one, but one that’s true. They encourage business owners to understand that true personal stories from customers will always resonate more effectively than a clever fabrication. In this resource, find out how you can authentically share your customer stories: celebrating the ordinary, showing success in all forms, and making sure that you consistently talk to your customers to identify the stories that make your brand real.
  11. 3 Steps Towards Developing an Authentic Brand Voice in Social Media (Social Media Today): Authenticity is especially important in social media, where users appreciate transparency and real interactions. Read this resource to find three important ways to make sure your social media voice reveals your authentic brand.
  12. Location, Location, Location: Firm Home Base Makes Brands Seem More Authentic (Brand Channel): While so much of branding happens online these days, Brand Channel explains why a dedicated physical presence can build authenticity. Experiments have revealed that consumers greatly desire products made in a company’s original factory, and are willing to pay significantly more for products made there instead of newer or foreign factories. It seems that for consumers, these items best embody the essence of the brand, even if they’re otherwise identical. This is a good lesson for all brands, not just those with factories: consumers want the original, not a copy. Give them the real you, and be careful when making outsourcing or expansion decisions.
  13. 10 Tips on How to Develop an Authentic Brand (Business News Daily): R. Kay Green recommends that companies remember their brand is an extension of yourself, and must always come from the heart to define the true picture of you. You can work on sharing this real definition by determining the true purpose of your business, analyzing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, determining your target market, and delivering your authentic self. Visit this resource for more tips on authentic brand building.
  14. 4 Tips to Create Meaningful, Authentic Connections Online (Tiny Buddha): Lori at Tiny Buddha shares a few lessons she learned while building her personal brand — and these lessons are good advice for brands as well. Lori developed her online persona to represent her authentic self, with meaningful interactions. She learned to admit when she doesn’t know it all, show vulnerability with honesty, ask directly for what she wanted, and remember that behind every computer, there’s a real person.
  15. Create an Authentic Startup Brand (The Piston Blog): Get authentic branding right from the start with Piston Cloud’s guide. They recommend finding your purpose and value, knowing your customer, and delivering consistently.
  16. Unlocking The Power of Authenticity with Millenial Customers (MediaPost): Every category and age group appreciates authenticity, but millenials in particular are sensitive to disingenuous marketing. In this resource, learn about the four important ways brands can effectively deliver authenticity to millenials other age groups.
  17. 8 Ways to Create & Portray Brand Authenticity (Website Magazine): Website Magazine explains that brands with authenticity command respect, and are better able to influence value and buying actions. They recommend building brand authenticity by matching values, building an organic network, asking for feedback, staying honest, and sharing personality. Read on to find more great tips for authentic brand building.
  18. Airbnb Building Brand Value by Creating Authentic Connections with — and Between — Users (Sustainable Brands): In this post, explore how Airbnb has used social connections and neighborhood guides to improve customer interaction and build authenticity within the company.
  19. Brand Authenticty: Keeping it Real, Honest, Genuine, and True (Brand Insight Blog): Want a definition of what’s really behind authenticity? Visit this blog post, which explains why authentic brands are original, genuine, trustworthy, and faithful to ideals.
  20. The Authentic Brand is an Endangered Creature (UP Global): UP Global tells us that authentic branding, above all, is not manufactured. But it is an endangered creature that is undomesticated and unable to breed in captivity. Rather, authenticity grows in genuine environments with self-awareness and truth. Read this post to learn about the power of authenticity and how you can support genuine growth in your organization.
  21. How Being Honest and Authentic About Your Brand Can Define Your Business (Upstart Business Journal): Entrepreneur Jason Forrest explains why there’s nothing more powerful than your business’ brand, and in this resource, explains his best practices for maintaining and monitoring his firm’s brand.