The Path to Authentic Startup Marketing

by / ⠀Finding Customers Startup Advice / July 23, 2012

Have you ever wondered how companies get away with calling their products the #1 best out there? The more products and content are released, whether it’s on television or on the web, the more descriptions are stretched in order to confuse consumers with over-promises hard to keep.

Flaunting our capabilities has become one of the cornerstones of society. We teach each other to market ourselves, but that “marketing” has somehow become equivalent to playing up and even overstating anything we even semi-accomplish.

The self-promotion culture permeates jobs & our work.

What is the result of this infiltration of inauthenticity? You probably have heard it all thousand times. A few of the most memorable taglines that ever existed include the very superfluous language I’m referring to.

  • De Beers: All the females reading this will recognize the sparkly De Beers Jewelry tagline that boasts, “A diamond is forever”.
  • Disney: Even Disneyworld is guilty, calling itself “The happiest place on earth”. I’ve had plenty of good times at Magic Kingdom, but I can think of plenty of other places around the globe that could give Walt Disney a run for his money on that claim.
  • John Deere: How about our trusty John Deere who flaunts his green and yellow equipment saying, “Nothing runs like a Deere”? Mr. Deere, I run pretty well myself, thank you very much.

We know these claims are stretching the bounds of truth, don’t we? Disneyworld can’t possibly be the happiest place on earth for everyone who walks through their gates, but saying so really does sound nice.

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But what do entrepreneurs do when their carefully crafted taglines and advertisements are resulting in potential customers rolling their eyes?

Building An Authentic Marketing Plan — Your Action Plan

The gap between understating and bragging seems larger than before. I’ve come up with a way to create authentic relationships with people — especially my customers.

It’s easy: Tell the truth. Be yourself. Be authentic.

According to ancient Greece, the word authentikos is derived from the meaning of words like “genuineness” and “veritable”. With the user uprising we know and refer to as “social media”, the interactions between company brand and consumer are now at the forefront of the marketing industry. How can we market to customers authentically.

Step 1: Tell a story.

In a world where meaning and truth are floundering and the economy is something to fear, consumers are looking for something to believe in.

Some industries and companies are more adept in creating this kind of mission-based brand. For all companies, growing a story from your company’s roots is a good place to start, whether you are selling tires or saving deprived children.

Tell the story of how your company was founded, and consumers are bound to listen and relate to you.

Step 2: Live the story.

As time goes on, driving your business growth through this mission is a great way to keep that authentic momentum going. It’s important to stay true to what your customers believe in, instead of just enjoying the label.

There is a large gap between being what you claim to be and boasting about being what you claim to be.

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If you stay true to being that very mission you lay claim to, the authenticity will stick with you in the minds of both your staff and your customers.

Step 3: Let others in on the story.

Consumers want something to believe in, and they want something to participate in, too. Allowing customers a way to interact, engage, and even contribute to the mission your brand is living will cement their loyalty for years to come.

Companies are used to speaking at consumers, pushing unwanted and irrelevant messages. Level up and beat these companies to the punch by listening, opening the conversation to include consumer contributions, and pull in their interest in a more relevant manner.

You never know – your brand could wind up with a new innovative idea; courtesy of your customers themselves!

Marcella Chamorro recently released this book on authenticity in marketing, titled To Be or Like to Be, and she also writes for her blog on lifestyle & marketing. She is a blogger, speaker, and consultant based in Managua, Nicaragua, working on creating technologies. 

About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.