Over the last few months, there have been many examples in the media of celebrities and other personalities being unauthentic. (smacks of hypocrisy to say the least) I mean, they say one thing and then do another. Such as warn of the danger of climate change and the harmful effects of carbon dioxide, then take a private plane on holiday. Or pay £,000.00 for a long-haul flight to attend a Climate Change protest! No matter the circumstances, this will always lead to a bad public image and significantly undermines the message and the messenger.
This is directly applicable to business and the role of all employees within the business, as they are the public face and their actions have a tangible effect on the perception of any business. This is not about their attitude to carbon dioxide, but the meticulously crafted message that the business wishes to portray to their clients and potential clients. If those delivering the message work to a separate set of standards to those seen, then this message becomes diluted and unauthentic.
Examples of this abound in the business world, perhaps the most notable was of Gerald Ratner, the Managing Director of H Samuel the jeweller. On April 23rd, 1991 he gave a speech to the Institute of Directors and said:
We also do cut-glass sherry decanters complete with six glasses on a silver-plated tray that your butler can serve you drinks on, all for £4.95. People say, "How can you sell this for such a low price?", I say, "because it's total crap."
Needless to say, this didn‘t go over well with the image of the company and their clientele. In fact, it almost put the jewellery company out of business.
The important thing with being authentic is to be consistent with the message, actions and behaviour. Otherwise, the perception of hypocrisy or hypocrite becomes an easy label. Once this process begins, the Value Proposition and the Value Plus Items associated with the business begin to erode and the brand value or the value of the brand diminishes. The result is a decrease in brand value which, in turn, leads to lower average selling prices, depressing margins and ultimately profits.
It should be clear, that something as simple as being hypocritical can have a negative and detrimental effect on the businesses bottom line. Conversely, being authentic and living what you espouse, can have an incredibly positive effect on the business and morale of the employees.
Authenticity also has an effect on suppliers, partners and the wider business community. Being authentic has, therefore, a knock-on effect to improve the value and profitability of a business. It also makes the job of attracting and retaining clients easier. After all, everyone wants to be associated with trustworthy, honest people and businesses. It makes them feel better and improves their social standing. All businesses strive for long term relationships with their clients, it‘s the most effective way of generating more business.
Being authentic in your words, deeds and action has a significant impact on how your clients and potential clients see you. Making sure that authenticity is present in all you do. After all, a client is for the long-term.
Celebrities fall into this trap as they jump on a publicity bandwagon, looking for free press, only for it to blow up in their face, when they say one thing and do another. The hypocrisy does real brand damage.
Contact me directly and see how authenticity can be part of your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and attract more of the clients you want, with less that you don’t want.