June 26th, 2015
Authenticity is the key to building a truly viable, sustainable business with the potential to expand greatly. This may seem like a grand, slightly naïve statement to make, especially considering the devious practices that we all know businesses are capable of, however, there is a growing shift towards authenticity, which benefits both the consumer and the business itself.
Establishing what your organisation stands for
Establishing the core aims, as well as culture of your organisation is key to creating an authentic environment. In a world filled with negativity (war, environmental damage, poverty etc.), consumers want to feel that the businesses they affiliate with work on an honest and sustainable basis. This means that working out the core goal of the company, and working towards this goal through honest, communicative methods is vital. It is also important that a business shows its ethical prowess by involving itself in charitable projects outside of its’ own interests. They may have links to the business, but in demonstrating the heart of the company, these links encourage business from the ever growing number of people who want to feel their money is doing some good in the world.
As mentioned earlier, the culture of the organisation is another part of establishing and maintaining an honest relationship with the consumer. All organisations must establish a strong culture of behaviour, which must be constantly reinforced; it needs to be an integral part of all decisions made. Authentic behaviour within a company means leading by example and taking accountability for your own actions, as a leader it is important that these actions, which follow the company’s culture, are rewarded. Consistency is key; while it is important to tailor your approach to each specific platform you are working on, an organisation that sends mixed messages encourages mistrust, it is worth being honest about what the company does, today’s savvy customer will see straight through any dishonest or mixed messages.
Building trust from the inside out
It can seem difficult in a world with ever shifting objectives to maintain honest relationships with the people you work with, however it is important that this happens. From an individual perspective, it is important to try and strike up a rapport with others, which will allow for you to be honest and transparent with those you work with. It is important that, as in life, in business you always consider the interests of others; this is not just as a polite measure, but instead promotes strong, healthy teamwork and will allow the business to run both more authentically and effectively.
As a leader in business, it can be tempting to set very clear, specific boundaries, in order to separate yourself from your employees and establish power. However, increasingly it has become clear that transparency in leadership, accepting flaws and encouraging honest communication can create much stronger, truthful relationships with both employees and consumers.
Here are some simple ways to put these principles into practice.
1. Encourage personal communication:
Make sure that all business affiliates or potential consumers/investors have many different ways to communicate with your business. It is important that you leave the direct communication to someone who is able to be clear-headed and focused on the aims of the company, while also understanding and listening to the objectives of those they are talking to.
2. Create a clear vocabulary within the business:
All the world’s most successful businesses have key words or adjectives that are used constantly to market and sustain their brand. However, these kinds of business buzzwords are also useful within the company; by establishing some key words that convey the company’s message and practices, a clear dialogue is created and reinforced.
3. Deliver on promises:
This is one that should seem obvious to businesses, and yet so many fail to understand the importance of delivering on even the smallest of promises; it builds trust as well as driving the business forward. Customers will respond to a business with a good record of delivering, and employees within the business will feel a sense of pride and duty to carry it forward.
If authenticity hasn't been a guiding principle so far when building your business, it should certainly become one. After all, the authentic relationships we build up throughout our lives become the most enduring and most trusted.
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