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Is brand authenticity a business goal worth pursuing? What does authenticity mean in the business context? And, more crucially, what actions should companies take to make authenticity a reality in their enterprise?

These are some of the questions explored in The Authenticity Handbook, an ebook authored by Andrew Reid, founder and president of corporate innovation at Vision Critical. Through real-world examples, Reid reveals practical and critical steps to building trust with customers.

A key point in the handbook is that customers today increasingly support companies they perceive to be trustworthy. Authenticity, according to Reid, is now a business imperative. The stats below help demonstrate why companies must create a genuine relationship with customers.

  1. In a 2013 study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group, customers identified authenticity as one of the top qualities that would attract them to a brand. (TWEET THIS)
  2. For millennials, brand authenticity is second only to loyalty discounts in importance when choosing companies to support, according to the same BCG study. (TWEET THIS)
  3. Research firm Mintel found that about half of American shoppers trust small companies to do the right thing. (TWEET THIS STAT)
  4. In contrast, just 36 percent of shoppers say they trust large companies to do what’s right. (TWEET THIS STAT)
  5. Authenticity means different things to different age groups. Corporate social responsibility, for example, is deemed important among millennials, with 48 percent of this cohort admitting to supporting brands “that are active in supporting social causes.” (TWEET THIS STAT)
  6. The 2015 edition of Edelman’s annual Trust Barometer shows a global decline in trust compared to 2014. (TWEET THIS STAT)
  7. Edelman also found that “the number of countries with trusted institutions has fallen to an all-time low among the informed public.” (TWEET THIS STAT)
  8. Trust in business is below 50 percent in half of the markets that Edelman examined in its 2015 study. (TWEET THIS STAT)
  9. Ninety-one percent of customers want brands they follow to be authentic in their social media posts, according to an infographic from the agency Bonfire Marketing. (TWEET THIS STAT)
  10. The same infographic shows that 63 percent of customers would buy from an authentic brand. (TWEET THIS STAT)
  11. A 2014 study conducted by the PR firm Cohn & Wolfe revealed that the number one quality people demand of big brands is honesty about their products and services. (TWEET THIS STAT)
  12. The Authentic Brand Index, a study put together by brand consultants Principals and the consultancy Brand Navigator, found a correlation between a company’s authenticity and the likelihood that customers become advocates for that brand. (TWEET THIS)
  13. Authentic brands get more share of high value customers, also according to the Authentic Brand Index. (TWEET THIS)

Conclusion

These stats show that when it comes to brand authenticity, the stakes are high for companies today. Brands must figure out how to establish a sense of authenticity in all aspects of their business. Appreciating the importance of being more genuine and transparent is a good start, but companies can’t stop there. Companies must take specific steps to show their human side—to show that they see customers for who they truly are: people who appreciate a genuine relationship to the brands with which they do business.

For actionable tips on how to embrace authenticity in your business, download The Authenticity Handbook.

QVC’s Evolution to a Customer-led, Multi-platform Brand

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Kelvin Claveria

Kelvin Claveria was the former Content Marketing Manager and was responsible for Vision Critical's blog and social media marketing program. Before joining Vision Critical's global marketing team, Kelvin worked at Dunn PR, a Vancouver-based public relations firm. His experience includes working with lifestyle, real estate, and non-profit clients to develop social media marketing and PR strategies. Kelvin has a Bachelor of Business Administration from SFU's Beedie School of Business.
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