This past month of communicating over video has given everyone a crash course in authenticity.
At a time when we’ve never been farther apart physically, video calls have managed to bring us closer together.
The days of seeking the perfect lighting, the perfect sound, and the perfect words have been replaced with honest, personal connections.
We’re sharing views inside our homes.
We’re donning our hoodies.
We’re letting our hair get a little wild.
We don’t even freak out when family and pets stumble into the background.
And most importantly, we’re talking to each other — even total strangers — on a more human level.
How are you doing? Are you safe and healthy? Is your family OK? How is your business getting through this? How can I help?
We’re reducing our dependency on superficial layers and amping up our empathy.
These are fundamental lessons that can make all of us better people.
And they’re lessons that can make our businesses better, too.
The trend for brands to embrace authenticity has been slowly increasing over time. And it’s being driven by savvy consumers who judge businesses on both their products and their behavior.
9 out of 10 consumers are willing to take action to reward a brand for its authenticity. This includes 52% that would recommend the brand as a result, and 49% that would become loyal to the brand. 78% of Americans also want businesses to stand up for important issues.
But businesses still struggle to embrace it.
They get so lost trying to polish their image and manufacture connections, they forget that it’s the part when the toddler kicks-down-the-door that actually brings us together. Not just because it’s hilarious, but because it’s real.
That’s the lesson this surge of video call connections during the COVID-19 crisis has helped to crystallize.
Vulnerability is something to embrace, not fear.
Now is the perfect time for brands of all sizes to open up. Not as a superficial token, but as a way to change how you think about your relationships with customers.
Bridging The Gap Between Our Personal Lives And Brands: Stories From Indoors
A new initiative called Stories From Indoors is another great example of the way video communication can bring people together.
The site operates around a very simple premise — give people a place to share their feelings about this new era of isolation.
Prompts for the videos include questions like:
- “What do you miss from your old routine?”
- “What’s your at-home fitness routine?”
- “How are you staying in touch with family?”
The videos are simple, straightforward, and honest. It’s a place to capture how we feel, and to feel less alone.
The company that built the site and the technology behind it, Hypno, had used these same tools for years to create user-generated content for brands at events, retail location, and other live experiences.
But when COVID-19 put all in-person events on pause, Hypno needed new, creative solutions.
They’re now using the same concept to work with brands who want to engage with their audiences in creative ways. All focused on the same unifying concept — strip down the walls, get vulnerable, and bring people together through shared experiences.
“Brands are racing to create 100% digital experiences that keep their communities connected and engaged,” says Russell Armand, Hypno Co-Founder. “So we quickly refactored our video platform to create Capsule, a fully branded web experience that brings people together to shoot, share and explore thematic videos in real-time. It uses the cameras on our laptops and phones to instantly record and upload videos from your browser. We’re really excited to produce fast, meaningful content in this way — and we can do it at scale in minutes.”
Brands that are nimble and focused on authenticity can use tools like this to open up, to listen, and to make their relationships stronger despite this challenging environment.
4 More Ways Your Business Can Embrace Authenticity
While video is a great channel for authentic expression, there are plenty of other ways for your brand to get more human.
If you really want to help people make their lives better — not just sell something — you can find all sorts of opportunities to strip away the marketing facade and get closer with your customers.
- What language are you using? Does your brand speak in jargon and salesy promises or does it speak like a person? (Ex: An email marketing company that speaks in plain, friendly language)
- What images do you show? Do you only show products and people in an idealized state or do you embrace how things look in real life? (Ex: A fast food chain boldly featuring its flagship burger with mold growing on it)
- How do you communicate in sales? Is it a race to get that credit card number or do you build a relationship for the long run? (Ex: A store closing up shop on the biggest shopping day of the year to encourage people to spend time outside and consume less)
- How clear are your values? Are core values an afterthought or are you straightforward and consistent in all the ways that you operate? (Ex: A clothing manufacturer that relentlessly seeks out ways to produce products without causing harm to the planet)
This moment has provided the perfect case study for what happens when we start to remove the layers that keep us apart. It’s giving individuals and businesses a chance to take a step back and be more open in how they communicate.
Finding creative ways to embrace authenticity can carry a brand through the challenges of this moment and set it up to be even stronger in a post-pandemic world.
Get Help Creating Authentic Customer Connections
If you’re ready to build strong, personal connections with your customers, reach out for a free consultation. We’ll help you transform your best business thinking into an actionable, shareable, growth-oriented guide. Click below to learn more about the Brand Guidebook process.