We would agree with the above statement. In fact, brand authenticity has become more important than the price point of items . These days the important attributes that build brand loyalty for a company are environmentally-friendly business practices, social responsibility and giving back to the local community. All attributes that contribute to brand authenticity.
However, we often talk about brand authenticity as if there is a common, agreed definition that everyone subscribes to. Yet there are different definitions. For example, one definition of brand authenticity is:
Being “authentic” for a brand means that the brand is genuine and true to itself. It means the brand is honest, transparent, and consistent in its values and actions. This means that the brand is true to its core mission, values, and beliefs and upholds those values in its marketing and communication efforts. Authenticity also means that the brand is connected to its customers and community honestly and meaningfully .
Another definition states:
Brand authenticity refers to if consumers believe a brand is genuine about their products/services, promises to customers and brand values. Authenticity is a key component to building a cohesive brand strategy .
Both definitions are similar. They refer to the belief in genuineness on the part of customers and how a brand connects to its clients. Interestingly, neither definition mentions the concept of honesty. Yet, part of how we understand authenticity has to do with our concept and understanding of honesty.
This raises the question, does honesty just refer to the truth of the content produced by a brand, or does it extend to how the brand produces that content?
Perhaps you think that if the content a brand uses is true to its core values, how it is created is irrelevant . This is a variation of the “end justifies the means” philosophy. The end goal is to build client trust and loyalty. How that is achieved doesn’t matter too much. After all, consumers are looking for genuine content that reflects the company's values and beliefs. Does it matter if we can achieve that by using AI and no one is the wiser?
Several issues need to be considered when weighing up how AI can potentially impact a brand’s authenticity.
However, are we being true to our brand and ourselves if we rely on a program to do our hard work and be creative for us?
Another definition of brand authenticity is:
“The extent to which consumers perceive a brand to be faithful toward itself, true to its consumers, motivated by caring and responsibility, and able to support consumers in being true to themselves.”
If consumers are looking to our brand to empower them to be true to themselves, there is the implication that we must first be true to ourselves, to the creative talent we have and the hard work that creativity often involves.
The above points are not to imply that brands shouldn’t use AI. They do highlight the risks that can be involved. Like any risk businesses face, a comprehensive risk assessment must be carried out and appropriate decisions made.
Having developed a strategy for how AI will be used and why it is being used in this way, it is essential to be open about this strategy.
Clients are often intuitive regarding AI-created content; the more AI is used, the more intuitive customers will become. Where customers believe AI has created content, they are less likely to engage or enter into meaningful dialogue . Hence, it is essential to be open and transparent about when machine-generated content is used and to provide non-AI generated content that enables and encourages clients to enter into meaningful dialogue.
AI-driven insights can provide important information to assist with making content marketing decisions. The power of AI tools is their ability to collate large data fields quickly to identify trends and patterns, which enables brands to provide better personalized customer experiences.
Using the data created by AI to drive human-centered content strategies keeps the client front and centre for brands.
In developing an AI Strategy and human-centered content strategies, it is helpful to consider the Perceived Brand Authenticity Scale, published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology by an international team of researchers from the Universities of Lausanne and Bern in Switzerland and Concordia and l’Université du Québec in Canada.
This scale has four key components:
Each component has a rating scale.
On a seven-point scale (7 = Strongly Agree, 1 = Strongly Disagree*), to what extent do you agree or disagree with the following.
[Brand X] is
Answering these fifteen questions through an AI lens allows brands to consolidate their authenticity while simultaneously deciding how to use client-centric AI openly and transparently.