Authenticity in Advertising: Are Brands Being Real With You?

by | Jan 20, 2024 | Thought Republic | 0 comments

Being REAL is what people look for in everything – whether it is with people, brands, or connections. And with Merriam-Webster naming “authentic” as the most searched word last 2023, we thought that it would be fun to explore the idea of authenticity in advertising. 

How do you know if a brand is genuine with their intentions about you? What makes their efforts good and true? Or is it all just a way to get money? These are some of the questions that we will take up in this article.

What Makes a Brand Authentic?

The most basic explanation we can give you is… if they are being honest with their intentions and their message to the market. 

First and foremost, as a business, a brand’s ultimate goal is to make money by providing you with their product/service. Therefore, a brand that claims to not be in the business for any type of profit is questionable. 

Second, what a brand claims about its product/service should always be found justified and true. Any messaging, no matter how creatively written, should always be based on irrefutable and incontrovertible facts.

2 Basic Approaches in Advertising

Authenticity in Advertising

For consumers to avail of any product/service, brands must first engage in advertisements to initiate awareness. Now, no matter if these ads are implemented on traditional routes or online media, they can basically be categorized into two approaches: hard selling or soft selling.

Hard selling is an approach typically done by brands to “bulldoze” a buyer into making a quick purchase decision. Hard sell advertisements usually include an attractive price offer within a short time frame intending to strong-arm consumers into buying swiftly. These measures, if you think about it, are prominent during the holiday and sale seasons. 

On the other hand, soft selling is less pushy and focuses more on gently ushering a consumer into making a purchase. A brand will communicate its functional/emotional benefit, give the market time to think about it, and then hope that their effort was enough to lead into a sale. Generally, these are your usual year-round advertising campaigns.

So Which is Authentic?

When you think about it, both can be authentic and inauthentic with the market.

Authenticity for hard selling comes from their no-nonsense approach of making you purchase their product/service. It’s a very simple proposition where they say, “this is us > here’s what we can do > here’s the price > here’s where and up until when you can buy it > so buy now!” All the information needed to make a purchasing decision is already packaged in a single flier, poster, billboard, or commercial; and the intention is very clear – to make a sale.

On the other hand, authenticity in soft selling comes from the pure interest of consumers to patronize a brand’s product/service. Since this approach banks on producing advertisements that the market can relate to, purchase intent eventually comes “naturally” from buyers. And while this approach takes longer, it eventually results in brand affinity and customer loyalty.

Arguably, done right within the confines of legitimate claims, both can be authentic. Similarly, however, both become automatically inauthentic when they use far-reaching and unfounded claims just to make a sale.

How Can Brands Achieve Authenticity That Lasts?

At the end of the day, brands are businesses that need to advertise to sell their products/services. However, if they want their efforts to be genuine regardless of their approach, they should remain honest with their consumers. First, never deny the intent for profit. Next, abstain from exaggerating or falsifying claims – whether it’s about the product/service or the relationship that they intend to build with the market. Finally, be intentional with making money by improving the lives of customers. While the relationship may be transactional, being clear with what you want to achieve and how you will achieve it will make your brand relevant, long-lasting, and authentic to people.

But what do you think? Do you want to add anything about this topic? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section of our FB post about this!


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