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Disrupting, Authentically: How Brands Can Stand Out Without the Need for Gimmicky Marketing


Source - Alt: A yellow neon sign that reads “Say Cheese”


You've likely heard countless companies touting themselves as industry "disruptors." Netflix, Apple, and Uber – genuinely transformed their fields. But these days, the term's overuse makes it sound gimmicky, even cheesy. 


Every startup craves that label, leading to cringe-worthy campaigns where ordinary products try to pass as revolutionary. True disruption isn't about flashy words; it's about solving real problems for customers.

Customers are tired of hype and shallow promises. They want authenticity and companies that treat them right. Substance over style is the new demand, and that's put brand personality at the centre of genuine market disruption. 

Today, we'll explore how to stand out without gimmicks, instead building a strong brand personality that drives true engagement. 

Let's dive in!


The Weariness of Gimmicks


Source - Alt: A modern businesswoman sits bored at her desk


Today's UK market is a challenging arena where merely being loud isn't enough to grasp and sustain your audience's attention.

Consumers have grown weary; they spot a gimmick from a mile away, leading to trust erosion rather than engagement. 

Just take a moment to think about this in your own life, perhaps whenever you come across an ad on TV or a pitch that feels cliched and worn down.

For example;

  • The overdone "revolutionary" claim: Every product under the sun is "changing the game," "reinventing the wheel," or offering some groundbreaking solution. This overuse makes those claims meaningless. It's like the boy who cried wolf – even if a brand truly offers something innovative; customers might ignore it after so many false alarms.

  • Forced "viral" attempts: Social media campaigns that are clearly engineered to go viral often feel inauthentic and manufactured. Think of those dance challenges with a tenuous connection to the brand or stunts that seem more focused on shock value than an actual message.

  • Exaggerated urgency: "Limited time offer!" "Act now before it's too late!" These sales tactics might have worked once, but overuse has made them a red flag for many consumers. It creates a suspicion that the deal isn't as good as it seems or that the product will always be available with some new "limited" discount attached.

We can't begin to tell you how many times a local sportswear store in our high street has had a closing-down sale.

  • Jump on the bandwagon trends: When a cause suddenly becomes popular, countless brands latch on without demonstrating any genuine commitment. Think half-baked attempts to tap into Pride Month or a brief, surface-level nod towards sustainability.


This is the crux of marketing gimmick fatigue – a phenomenon where the once-alluring glitter of quick-fix tactics rapidly loses its shine. It turns marketing into a commodity and creates so much noise and rubbish to sift through.

However, there's a beacon of hope in establishing trust.

Brand personality becomes the cornerstone of genuine rapport. It's where connections are not just made but nurtured, thanks to a brand voice that resonates with authenticity rather than clamouring for the next viral moment. 

It's not just about a transaction—it's about starting and sustaining a conversation with your audience. 

It's about nurturing an honest, well-founded relationship that has the potential to last decades.

Define Your Values: The Core of Authenticity


Source - Alt: Wooden Scrabble pieces that says ‘real is rare’


So, how do you go about creating and then marketing an authentic brand? Well, just like you would with your own self-development, you start by defining your values. These are your guiding principles, the beliefs that shape every decision you make.

Ask yourself these critical questions:

  • Who are you? What's your brand's personality? Are you playful and innovative? Reliable and trustworthy?

  • What does your brand stand for? Beyond your products or services, what's the bigger impact you want to have? Is it sustainability? Inclusivity? Community empowerment?

  • What unique problems does your business aim to solve for customers? How do you make their lives better, easier, or more fulfilling?

Let's illustrate this with an example. Imagine a small outdoor gear company. During their value-defining process, they might identify:

  • Who are you? Adventurous, rugged, dependable.

  • What does your brand stand for? Accessibility to the outdoors for everyone, environmental responsibility.

  • What unique problems does your business aim to solve for customers? Providing quality gear at affordable prices, and education on sustainable outdoor practices through their content.

These values would shape everything they do. 


Their product design would focus on durable, functional gear. Their marketing might feature real people on outdoor adventures, with a portion of their profits on conservation initiatives.  


This creates a cohesive brand experience that feels true to its core values, attracting like-minded customers.


The Power of Storytelling


Source - Alt: A shop front window with a neon sign that reads ‘what is your story’


Now, with your values in mind, it's time to communicate them to the world (mostly your target audience), who will resonate with your values and, thus, want to do business with you. 

Sure, you can put out ads, write Tweets, and curate blog posts, but a strategy of making it up as you go will never last long. Instead, you need a strategy, and this strategy needs to be grounded in storytelling.


Storytelling is the lifeblood of brand personality.  


It's how your brand infuses its values with emotion, transforming itself from a mere provider of goods or services into a relatable companion in the lives of its customers. 

Here's how storytelling breathes life into your brand:

  • Humanising Brands: Share the stories behind the people who fuel your company. Their passions, struggles, and triumphs create a connection that goes beyond transactions. Narratives of product development reveal the heart and soul poured into your offerings.

  • Embracing Vulnerability: Don't shy away from your brand's history. Celebrate successes and own past missteps. Showing how you've learned and grown fosters trust. Highlight customer stories to demonstrate the real-life impact of your work.

  • Growth and Learning: Openly discuss how customer feedback has shaped your brand. Showcase the evolution of your products or services as a testament to your relentless pursuit of improvement.

In a world saturated with content and noise (and a lot of rubbish stuff), audiences crave authenticity. 


They want to connect with brands that aren't afraid to share their stories, warts and all. This transparency builds a sense of belonging–customers become part of your narrative, not just consumers.


Tips for Storytelling Success

  • Reflect on Your 'Why': What drives your brand beyond profit? This is the foundation of your most compelling stories.

  • Highlight the Human Element: Share the journeys of your founders, employees, and customers. People connect with people.

  • Make Your Customers the Heroes: Tell stories that centre on your customers' victories and how your brand empowers them.

Don't forget - this isn't just marketing; it's forging genuine connections that transcend mere transactions. 


And in a world seeking authenticity, that is a truly disruptive force.


Consistent Messaging

And finally, the art of being consistent.

This is the trick that so many businesses miss. Sure, having a personality, conveying information through stories and emotional connection, and being authentic is great, but your efforts are a flash-in-the-pan, they won't get you far for long.

Legacy brands and businesses are built on consistency - those who show up positively over and over again. Therefore, superior branding is equal parts authenticity and consistency. 

This means conveying your message, brand, and values harmoniously across multiple communication channels at every touchpoint of your business.

This means every staff member communicates the same message, and every piece of content reads the same. It's setting yourself up so that it doesn't matter how a customer interacts with your business; they instantly know they're interacting with you.

  • Unified Voice: When your website's tone aligns with your emails, social media posts, and customer service, it sends a clear, recognizable message of who you are. This consistency anchors your brand values and resonates in your audience's mind.

  • Trend Alignment: Furthermore, threading the needle between maintaining your brand personality and catching the wave of trending topics is an art form. However, it's crucial to always tie trends back to your brand ethos. 

Remember, jumping on every trend might make your brand seem muddled or opportunistic. 


By selectively aligning with trends that resonate with your brand values, your content stays relevant without sacrificing authenticity. 


Consistency is key in striking this delicate balance.


Conclusion

As you can see, authenticity is king, queen, and everything in between. 

Flashy gimmicks might grab attention, but they won't build trust. A strong brand personality, consistent messaging, powerful storytelling, and a genuine connection with your community are the keys to a truly memorable brand.

Want to skip the guesswork and create an authentic brand that truly connects? 

Reach out to our team here at THREE2 today. We’ve worked with the likes of Gymshark, Currys, TikTok, and many more, helping them uncover their brand's unique essence, crafting compelling stories, and building lasting customer relationships. 


Ditch the gimmicks. Embrace authenticity. Start building a legacy for your brand.

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