The authenticity question

What does it mean to be authentic?

The general definition of something that is authentic is that it’s genuine, bona fide, being actually and exactly what is claimed.

This begs the question, how does this fit with most marketing?

There are more definitions of marketing than seem possible for something that is essentially about creating sales of a product or service.

To make a sale we have to convince the buyer they’re going to get what they want. Whether its a product or service, the buyer has to be convinced they’re making the right choice.

There’s a well known saying that emotion sells and its true.

The crucial thing is that it’s about creating the emotion in the clients that makes them buy – not the sort that sends them running for the hills or into the arms of a supplier who looks like a better bet!

“Being authentic” is often confused with showing that we’re vulnerable but it’s different. Being vulnerable invites intimacy which is a two way relationship based on trust.

Just pouring out emotions per se isn’t inviting intimacy and its not going to cut many deals. When you’re marketing, balancing head and heart is essential.

Being authentic with a client is saying “I’m going through a tough time and won’t be able to deliver to the deadlines we agreed.” It’s not putting your life out there for everyone to see so that potential clients give you a wide berth because you look as though you could be unreliable.

When we run our own businesses and we are the business we always come back to the way the client feels about us and our ability to do the job they’re paying us for and reliability is a big factor. No-one is going to give us work just because they feel sorry for us.

Clients want to feel smart, secure, taken care of, that they’ve made a good decision and their needs will be satisfied. We’re supposed to be solving *their* problems, not the other way round.

Being authentic is how well we align the impression we give others about ourselves. It’s fine to say you’re having a bad day sometimes but it’s not being inauthentic to keep the most personal aspects of your life private – especially if they involve other people.

There are many times when we all need to vent and get support and having a trusted safe place to do this is a huge benefit. If you’re looking for such a place, I recommend Drive, the Collaborative Network, where members help each other in a supportive peer group and no-one is expected to wear their game face!

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