Authenticity and brand image: how can independent experts reinforce 2 essential aspects of your marketing strategy

With the continuing rise of the digital age and the integration of social media into brands’ communication strategy, new expectations have risen in terms of customer experience: human personalisation of the brand and transparency with consumers. Brands need to show their ability to be authentic.

Definition: authenticity is a quality for which an entity – often an individual but also an organization – expresses with sincerity and engagement what it deeply it.

 

According to Authentic 100, the annual Cohn & Wolfe index, only 7% of those surveyed in the UK describe brands as ‘‘open and honest’’. However, nearly 9 out of 10 consumers are willing to take action to reward a brand for its authenticity, including 52% who would recommend the brand to others and 49% who would pledge loyalty to the brand.

1. Are the advice given by ibbü experts really authentic? 

Because this authenticity passes first and foremost by human and physical relations, it’s crucial for brands to select advocats who, beyond generating turnover, embody the brand’s sincerity and the quality of its products and services.
This is one of the crucial points on which ibbü experts make all the difference. Each brand has a different expert profile. However, we noticed two important trends:

• when questions are about products, experts will mainly be savvy enthusiasts. This is the case of the ibbü experts who interact with online shoppers on the websites of brands such as ManoMano, Sonovente, Mister Auto or Materiel.net.

• when products are very specific and questions are mainly about the brand itself, the ideal expert will rather be a brand advocate, one of their best customers or a member of their existing community. These profiles are most commonly found on TUI, IKKS or Le Petit Ballon’s websites.

In both cases, their authenticity is led by the sincerity of their enthusiasm for the brand or its products and their independence towards it. Even if they get paid in exchange of giving advice, money is not the experts’ first motivation. In fact, they are first driven by professionalism and the performance they want to achieve.

‘‘We don’t give the ibbü experts a script. This means they have spontaneous discussions, based on their own personal experiences. Visitors really like this.’’ Pierre-Olivier Grolleau, TUI France

Read more: Read the TUI success story

‘‘We don’t want to be too salesy by overselling our product, it just doesn’t fit with our brand image. With ambassadors, the advice is authentic. They are able to communicate what our teams can’t: the real sense of amazement when they open their box and find out what’s inside, Le Petit Ballon experience! Even if a conversation doesn’t convert visitors into customers, it’s great in terms of brand image and experience. And it’s a real plus because our agents are not able to have long conversations with our customers.’’ Maxime Brillanceau, Customer Relationship Manager, Le Petit Ballon.

Read more: Read Le Petit Ballon’s success story

2. How can you play the authenticity card while keeping control? 

iAdvize constantly ensures the quality of service provided by the ibbü experts, both before their selection and during the whole campaign of a brand. Most of the criteria that companies generally have to evaluate the quality of their  internal or external customer service also applies when it comes to monitoring the quality delivered by the ibbü experts. 

Monitoring key indicators

Like iAdvize, they have access to real-time indicators and can undertake comparative analysis on whatever period of time they are interested in. If they have doubts about the quality delivered by experts, at any time brands can have access to their conversation history. They have the same decision-making power in the selection of agents as they validate the profiles proposed by iAdvize. They can size their teams of respondents according to their needs.

Auto-management for natural control 

The big differences we can observe reside in the management and flexibility of all respondents.While an internal or externalised agent is part of a team and traditional management, experts are freelancers paid to deliver a service. Thus, they self-manage based on the self-assessment of their performance. They know their performance is at the heart of their selection and track the satisfaction they deliver, the number of chats they handle and the sales their advice generate on their own. It’s also very important for them to know their position compared to other ibbü experts. 

“We are very demanding when it comes to the quality of answers we provide to our customers. With ibbü, experts deliver a premium service. With ibbü, we know that the community receives compensation for advice given to customers. It gives us legitimacy to be demanding and expect results.” Chloé Martinot, Head of Product Management, ManoMano.

Read more: Read the ManoMano success story

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Ludivine Kasteleyn

French and Belgian born in France and interested in everything related to Marketing, Foreign Languages and the Web.

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