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Why authenticity and transparency are vital in business, says Kim Morrison

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People want to hire and buy from those they know, like, and trust. That’s a universally held truth across the business world and the best way to earn the trust of your clients is to be authentic in how you present yourself. We’re being encouraged to make our businesses feel more personable and more human, particularly online.

What is authenticity?

Other than being a commonly-used buzzword these last few years, authenticity means being your true self in both words and actions. Your words and actions should match; your passion should be evident but not looking like it’s an act. Your honesty and integrity should be evident when speaking to you. And your online persona should match your offline persona when people meet you in person.

Business interview illustration with talking and discussing. (45019359)
Business interview illustration with talking and discussing. (45019359)

Some business people argue that there’s a subtle nuance to authenticity that really means being yourself in the correct setting. For instance, wearing shorts or a business casual outfit to a corporate meeting where the other attendees are in formal suits could be seen as a sign of disrespect, even if that’s what you wear to work normally. If you start cursing in the middle of a staff meeting or in your emails or on your social media posts, even if that’s how you speak at home, it could be seen as disrespectful and off putting. No matter how you define the word authenticity, it’s an important trait when it comes to company branding and associating yourself as your company’s spokesperson.

Who would you do business with?

The poor used car salesman stereotype gets a bad reputation but you can immediately picture a smarmy guy who is all pleasant to your face but then bad mouths you when you’re out of earshot for not buying his car or asking too many questions. For most people, that would turn them off from buying because you wouldn’t know if he’s telling the truth or just wanting to sell you a car…any car.

Someone who’s authentic would have a genuine interest in wanting to help you, in this example, by selling you a reliable used car that actually works. They would answer any questions you might have and would find the answers if they didn’t know them right immediately. They would be honest about the inner workings of the car and would be disappointed if you walked away from the deal, but you wouldn’t feel pressured to buy something you’re not ready for.

Which of these salespeople gives you the better authenticity vibe in this example?

Authenticity + transparency

Authenticity is the truth behind your words and actions, while transparency is how much you share. People don’t want to know what you ate for breakfast or lunch unless that’s your business, of course. For the rest of us, a few may be interested but most really don’t care.

If your company is authentic, you shouldn’t have trouble convincing your customers of it. By offering your customers a product and a lifestyle you truly believe in, they should easily recognise your authenticity. This will help you immediately establish trust. Ask yourself, “do I believe in what I am selling?” If the answer isn’t a resounding “yes,” you might encounter some trouble convincing others of your authenticity.

Breaking news (45019336)
Breaking news (45019336)

Facebook has published a new report which looks at the importance of diversity and inclusion in ad approaches. It has also published a new report into gender imbalance and the need to support female-owned businesses.

Instagram says that the platform is looking at several options around the display of post likes.

LinkedIn has added some new tools for company pages, facilitating employee advocacy, audience data gathering and promotion.

Pinterest has launched a new showcase of female-created products for International Women’s Day.

Snapchat has published a new guide to help advertisers prepare for the upcoming impacts as a result of Apple’s iOS 14 update.

Twitter is working on an ‘Undo’ option that would enable you to stop a tweet from being sent before going out with typos.

WhatsApp has announced the addition of voice and video calling options via its desktop app.

YouTube has announced its latest slate of kids programming, including educational focused content and more diverse representation.


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