Be Authentic

Since the start of the Internet age and the rise of digital and social media, we as marketers, advertising types, PR pros and social media masters are able to reach our target market with ease, as well as find untapped and potential fans and consumers with relative simplicity.

On the flip side, companies are trying to pitch their products on why they are better than the rest while consumers are bombarded from every angle. Information on every product is readily available with a few clicks of the computer or simply by picking up a smartphone. Consumers are smarter than ever and standing out requires any brand to be strategic.

And this is exactly where authenticity becomes key for brands. While those of us in the industry of building brands have values and a voice for the brand that we are trying to drive, ultimately consumers’ perception of your brand is reality. Therefore, brands have to be true and honest to what their brand is or risk driving current and potential fans away.

In February 2014, I visited the Bluegrass State in order to take in the Bourbon Trail. The tour took us to eight different distilleries, including Maker’s Mark, Woodford Reserve, Jim Bean and Wild Turkey.

By far our favorite two were Maker’s Mark and Woodford Reserve. While not wholly responsible for my enjoyment, a big part of the enjoyment stemmed from these two stops feeling like what a bourbon distillery should be. They were small, wooded, almost quaint grounds.

Woodford Reserve
On the left, Woodford Reserve’s copper stills. On the right, Woodford Reserve’s barrel house.

By comparison, Jim Beam and Wild Turkey felt like bourbon factories, less about the craft and quality and more about the quantity.

Outside the Jim Beam and Wild Turkey distilleries.
Outside the Jim Beam and Wild Turkey distilleries.

By being true to what I believed a bourbon distillery should look and feel like, Maker’s Mark and Woodford Reserve connected with me more and thus created a bigger fan.

Follow me on Twitter (@mditt).

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