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  • Writer's pictureBritt & Lorne Rempel

Authentically Yours | Why Brand Authenticity Matters

Updated: Jan 27



Authenticity matters is written in white text over a green bar. An Albertan thistle bush faded in the background.

If you’ve had any interest in marketing your brand, you’ve heard a lot about brand authenticity. It’s a bit of a buzzword. Buzz phrase? This may not be a hot take, but it’s my professional opinion mixed with anecdotes, so here we go.


Lad & Lass Authenticity Anecdotal Story


As I was transferring our website from WordPress to Wix (blog about why I did that coming soon!), I found a Scottish symbol I am remised to say I had no idea about — and it’s a big one. I’m not from Scotland. I’m just a girl from Campbell River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CANADA. To my chagrin, I’ve never set foot on the soil. I couldn’t even spell Edinburgh until I was 18.


However, my bloodline goes back to the highlands, and so does my heart. Funnily enough, Lorne’s does too. His Martin tartan was prettier than my MacGregor Tartan (Gregory), and the modern Martin hunting tartan had our favourite colours: green and purple. That was the deciding factor for our logo. It’s a very superficial attachment to Scotland, but it’s ours.

There’s something about what’s in your blood. It’s almost like your body’s memory. I strongly desire to be near trees and water, and prairie weeds are my favourite flowers, no matter what anyone else thinks. Noxious weed police be damned.


A few years ago, we were venturing through a Calgary park. Lorne and the kids sighed as I crouched to take yet another photo of an Alberta weed — a thistle. It’s an unassuming, fuchsia-coloured flower atop a prickly, green, leafy stem. This photo can be seen through the entire website. I didn’t know why I loved it so much. I just knew it had to be included.

As I was transferring the website, I noticed this symbol kept popping up when I searched for more Scottish things that would make sense for us and our brand. It was the Scottish thistle, a symbol of pride and victory for the Scottish people. I thought, “How incredible is this that I had to have this image everywhere?” And it felt right. I didn’t know the story of the Scottish thistle before this moment, but you can read it here if you’d like.


Why am I telling you this story? It’s my brand’s journey. There are no claims I can’t back up or lies about my origins. There are no fantastical promises. Lorne and I are simple people doing simple things who can admit we’re always learning. You better always be learning in our industry! This type of authenticity is what you need to do to connect with your audience on a human level. You’re not perfect. Your brand is not just a brand. There are people behind that brand. Lean into it. Connect.


Authenticity is Admitting When You're Wrong


One hallmark of authenticity is the ability to admit mistakes. I know you don’t want to do that publicly! I get it. We’ll deal with the perfection thing in the next point.


No brand is infallible, and consumers understand that. Authentic brands are willing to acknowledge errors, take responsibility, and make amends. By doing so, a brand demonstrates humility and a commitment to its audience's trust. Come out and say it publicly. Do a case study. Make a social post. Write a blog.


Things go wrong. If you’ve ever been through any project management, you’ll know problems always arise. Quick judgment calls are necessary, and occasionally, those decisions are wrong. On rare occasions, things even get missed.


If you leave those mistakes unfixed and don’t acknowledge your error, that’s a problem with integrity. No one wants to work with someone with no integrity. If you admit and fix your mistake, then you have an authentic brand filled with integrity. You’ll find that sharing these stories publicly doesn’t make you less credible. It makes you trustworthy and someone people want to work with.


Consumers appreciate transparency. It humanizes your brand, making it more relatable and trustworthy. Authenticity is not about perfection but the genuine effort to improve and learn from mistakes. 


Perfect is for Barbie Dolls | Don't Curate Every Single Thing


Have you been on TikTok lately? I watched a toothless woman sing offkey for the better part of 20 minutes along with 80,000 other people. Why? Honestly, I don’t know. I think it was because she was pure and authentic in her own skin. To my surprise, the comments were genuine and respectful. She wasn’t perfect, but she was brave enough to reveal her true self to the world.


Consumers are becoming more adept at spotting inauthenticity in the age of social media and carefully crafted online personas. Brands that curate every aspect of their image may come across as disingenuous. Authenticity, on the other hand, involves embracing imperfections and showcasing the real, unfiltered side of your brand.


Allowing a glimpse behind the scenes, sharing candid moments, and being open about your brand challenges can resonate with consumers. It creates a connection beyond the product or service you offer, fostering a sense of camaraderie and shared experience. 


For interior design, specifically, it sets your clients up with real expectations that there may be bumps in the road, but it will be okay in the end. The idea that the renovation process is smooth sailing is a falsity that no one truly believes. Let’s not make that claim. You can claim that you’ll do your best to limit the bumps in the road. You can promise you’ll protect them the best you can. But you can’t say there won’t be concerns, and you can’t say that you’ve never made a mistake. Be real. Be bold. Be authentically you.

 

The Speed of Trust Erosion


Trust can be built or eroded instantly in today's fast-paced digital landscape. Take Zara, for example. I’m essentially a solo marketer. Lad & Lass Digital doesn’t have a team — yet. Before I take pen to paper or lens to subject, I consider the implications. Things that could offend or imply something that doesn’t align with our brand values will hit the cutting room floor. Zara has a large team of professional marketers who saw their offensive 2023 campaign before it went live. The approval process for large brands is unreal.


There’s no way this ad was not planned, and consumers know it.


Zara knew full well the backlash they would receive from this advertisement. What’s worse is that they were hoping for it. All publicity is good publicity. Right? Wrong.


Zara’s assertion that it was conceived before the attacks means nothing. Timing is everything. It’s your brand. It's your job to know the world you’re speaking to. You have the power to stop something that does not align with your brand values until the moment you press send. And you should.


You might think, “But you said not to be highly curated.” Allowing people to see your authentic self is not the same as choosing not to release something for virality or engagement that doesn’t align with your brand values.


Zara is not the first significant brand to make an insensitive, inflammatory ad for the shock value, and consumers are getting tired of the inauthentic representation of a brand using the momentum that controversy brings. They’re even more exhausted by the inevitable scripted, false apology afterward. Forbes examines why their apology was so terrible in this article.


Don’t pretend to make a mistake and say a “mea culpa” afterward. It’s completely disingenuous. A large brand like Zara may survive this. You won’t.


Finally, The Link Between Likability, Trust, and Purchasing Decisions


Likability is an essential part of growing your business. It’s the financial bottom line WHY you should be authentic. Research consistently shows consumers prefer buying from brands they like and trust. In a world brimming with choices, brand likability and trustworthiness are often the deciding factors in purchasing decisions.


Many consumers are willing to pay more for products or services from brands they perceive as authentic. This underscores the economic value of building authenticity in a competitive market.


Authenticity is the cornerstone of these qualities, creating a genuine connection beyond transactional relationships. As interior designers and realtors, this is not a quick transaction. You’re going into your client’s world and their home. You spend so much time with them, and they you. You want to attract people you’ll work well with and who will pass your name on to their friends who would work well with you, too.



 




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1 Comment


Amanda Creuwz
Amanda Creuwz
May 26

I would like to add on my own what exactly helped me in creating the brand. Upgrading your brand includes updating your image, refining your messages, and increasing customer engagement. Consistent and high-quality content is crucial. https://www.movavi.com/learning-portal/free-movie-maker.html can help with this by helping you create professional videos that enhance the visual appeal of your brand. Easy-to-use editing features allow you to create engaging content that effectively reflects your brand's updated image and values.

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