How to build an authentic brand

Research shows that consumers spend more when they feel connected to a brand, and a growing number of consumers seek brands that align with their values. Authenticity is even more critical for winning over younger audiences: 76% of Gen Z consumers say they’re more likely to support brands with a “greater mission or purpose.”

But sometimes, building brand authenticity is easier said than done. Thankfully, Raj De Datta, co-founder and CEO of Bloomreach, knows a thing or two about the topic. We recently interviewed him on The Show.

1. Train AI to Represent Your Brand

AI is helping brands accelerate business productivity, efficiency, and growth. However, the most successful CEOs understand that AI is a tool — not the solution in and of itself. Brands must leverage this tool properly to deliver authentic experiences that connect with consumers.

“AI doesn't represent your brand,” De Datta said. “You train the AI to represent your brand. That becomes your new responsibility.”

De Datta used a sports analogy to explain further the concept: “You used to be the player, now you're the coach,” he said. “So it's still your product on the field, but you don't get to be the player anymore. The AI is the player, but you’ve still got to coach the AI.”

2. Laser-Focus on Your Purpose

CEOs have a heavy load to bear. Amid daily meetings, lengthy to-do lists, and simply keeping the lights on, it can be easy to lose focus on the brand’s ultimate mission and purpose.

De Datta emphasized the importance of keeping a laser-like focus on authenticity despite all the competing demands for attention.

“There are a lot of things that will pull you in a lot of other directions as you're building that brand out,” De Datta said. “But … (the brand has to be) authentic because customers and consumers will see through you instantaneously if it's not.”

3. Deliver an Incredible Customer Experience

Brands can communicate authenticity through social media, marketing, product design, and more. But ultimately, the most effective way to deliver authenticity is through outstanding customer experiences.

De Datta noted that truly great customer experiences are like the air we breathe—nearly indecipherable yet vital to a brand's life.

“Customer experience can stand for different things. It's not always something that you notice; sometimes it just happens,” De Datta said. “You know it when you see it.”

De Datta clarified that the best customer experiences come from focusing on the “seeker.” CEOs should continually ask themselves, "What is my customer seeking, and am I delivering that?"

4. Be an Authentic Leader

Authentic brands start with authentic leaders. This doesn’t mean being completely unfiltered in the office, but it does mean offering transparency to employees and customers alike.

De Datta said that one of the most important things he did as a brand during difficult times was to be upfront about it.

“Probably the most important thing I did in those iceberg years was just say to people, ‘Look, we're hitting a bunch of icebergs. It's not going well. I wouldn't fault anybody for walking out the door today, but what I can tell you is the destination is still worthwhile. We still have a lot of the assets to get there, and I'm here,’” De Datta said. “That certainty helped us get through a lot of those iceberg years.”

Authenticity helps brands stand out from the crowd, connect with audiences, and build lasting relationships with customers. Start building an authentic brand today by leveraging AI as a tool, focusing on your purpose and customer experiences, and being true to yourself as a leader.

Written by

Megan Snyder
Megan Snyder

Senior Editor |

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