Thursday, August 10, 2017

Communicating Authentically

A million years of evolution has finely
honed our sensitivity to authenticity
Authenticity helps us determine the validity of information in every moment of our lives, whether it’s listening and watching people, reading body language, talking to people or simply absorbing signage, radio, TV or internet impressions. We use our “authenticity filter” to determine the value of information we are absorbing. It is a subliminal, autonomic response that we do not consciously control.

This automatic response provides us with clues about the authenticity of the source of these messages. A million years of evolution has finely honed our sensitivity to authenticity. While this authenticity filter applies to everything we experience, it is perhaps why and how some of us are more successful than others in life and business.

As small business owners and decision makers, we tend to trust a more calculating approach to marketing and sales. We spend a great deal of time addressing a divergent series of issues relating to company growth which often including sales and marketing, shewing how our company is represented in the marketplace. Unfortunately, a calculated approach rarely contributes to the authenticity of your sales and marketing message. 

Often times, we settle on predictable sales messages and we pack them in so that customers can’t really identify our products or services as unique. Authenticity contributes greatly to our unique brand and they help differentiate us and allow customers to create an emotional attachment to our products. Time and effort factor greatly into the process of authenticity because we only have so much time and our attention is often pulled in many directions.

Large businesses fare much better when creating authentic brands and messages, but only because they apply money, time and effort in the process. Small businesses tend to use the same decisions making process that has been successful in other areas of the business and authenticity is difficult to qualify and demands a significant investment in time and effort.

Small to intermediate size businesses would fare much better if they give credence and a higher priority to authenticity in their marketing and communication message. We have all seen small or startup companies do very well when they have an authentic message to deliver, by creating an emotional link to their product through authenticity. We marvel at their innovation and ingenuity and then promptly ignore considering authentic messages when we create our own marketing messages?
Another great characteristic of authenticity recognition is that it is common to all. It is not an attribute specific to any one demographic. If your message is authentic any audience can pick it up.

Perhaps, understanding and learning how to use this innate ability offers small business owners a real benefit when trying to craft authentic messages and brands. As a starting point I recommend reading Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Blink. It will help define this characteristic for you and provide evidence of its use and misuse. Among a number of theories he postulates, Malcolm talks about having too much information and how this can interfere with the clarity and authenticity of a message.

As business owners we sift through a great deal of information as we wear our many hats. Cultivating a process that commits time and effort to filtering out irrelevant and confusing information is an important part of creating an authentic brand or message. Sometimes, collecting more information only reinforces our more practical judgment. Gladwell explains that messages can be more authentic when they are the result of simple and frugal information.

The first step in making your message authentic, regardless of the medium, is to make it clear enough to make a decision on - without having to use a magnifying glass.

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