A couple weeks ago we were fortunate enough to have someone join our team at Rocket Referrals. I would best describe Matthew as pensive, experienced, good at what he does – and moderately quirky. As you might expect from any newcomer to a group, Matthew was recently feeling out our company culture & the image we exhibit to others. Today in particular he asked me how the best way to address a prospect via email would be. In other words, should he be formal – or perhaps use the word “hey”. The answer was simple. Be yourself. Be authentic.
True to form, the next step was for Matthew to start chanting “be authentic, be, be, authentic!” as if he was a high school cheerleader. A cheer which I indubitably joined in on. In fact it was the inspiration this blog post – because as quirky as the situation might be – it highlighted a very important aspect for any business: to be genuine, be yourself, be authentic.
Truth be told, we always know when a business is trying to sneak one by us. Sometimes it is more obvious than others. We can always smell a snakeoil salesman from a mile away and spot deals that are just too good to be true. But the problem runs much deeper than the blatant. What about those newsletters we get that are masked as informational but laced with promotions? How about the email from your car dealership that says he’s just checking in but is really soliciting you for a referral?
Or my personal favorite: when companies change their entire branding, message, or product away from their roots. Remember when Coca cola changed their formula for the first time in 99 years in 1985 to the “new Coke?” A marketing disaster calling for thousands to demand the original product. The same goes for companies trying to fit into trends they don’t belong, or use language that just doesn’t fit who they are. It’s kind of like that father that attends career day for his 4th grade child and turns his hat backwards and spits out terms like “rad” and “the bomb.” Trying too hard to fit in just doesn’t sit right.
On the other hand, being authentic will give substance to your company. It will define who you are and enable others to relate to you. In turn, more people are much more likely to trust you and have a positive outlook on your brand. Likability breeds sales and trust leads to referrals. You may not be the perfect fit for everyone, but being authentic is the only way to truly reach an audience. And when you have a loyal following that trusts you, you begin to create a community around your products and services.