Authenticity for brand, personal, and print business messaging has become more important than ever. Whether it’s in advertising, social media, or everyday conversation, people want to feel that the messages they receive are genuine and truthful.
Last week was International Women’s Day and the flood of messaging on March 8th showing support for women was prevalent across every channel. But was it authentic? Is this support actively shown by these brands, print businesses and people the remaining 364 days of the year?
Trade media created articles and interviews, podcasts, and other initiatives and sent their content out as champions of women. Are they giving the same visibility to the women of the print through their channels and magazine covers over the rest of the year? Do the media companies have an equitable amount of women in leadership, management, and on their boards?
Click around and judge for yourselves.
As Girl #1 at Girls Who Print I don’t see many meaningful changes over the last 14 years. I created #PrintHERstoryMonth, a visibility initiative now in its fifth year, to highlight the fierce, fabulous females who power print. We have more than 100 women participating in 2023.
This initiative coincides with Women’s History Month to benefit from the topic interest and get more exposure for the content, but it’s only one of the numerous things we do all year to support women in print. Our free mentorship program is growing exponentially with more younger women signing up to get help navigating their careers and the obstacles they face in a male-dominated industry.
International Women’s Day, Women’s History Month, and International Women’s Day fall in March so they are topical now. Black History Month is celebrated in February, and June is Pride month, and there are many other opportunities to show support for marginalized communities and social causes during the year. The same authenticity test applies.
Before you send out messaging to your audience to let them know where you, your print business, or your brand stands on anything, let’s break down why this all matters, and why you do not want to get relegated to the bullshit bin.
What is messaging authenticity?
Messaging authenticity refers to the degree to which a message accurately reflects the sender’s intentions, values, and beliefs. In other words, it’s about being true to oneself and communicating honestly with others.
Why does messaging authenticity matter?
Authenticity in messaging is crucial for several reasons. First, it builds trust between the sender and receiver. When people feel that a message is truthful and genuine, they’re more likely to believe it and act on it. This is especially important in marketing, where consumers are bombarded with countless messages every day. Brands, print businesses, and people that prioritize authenticity in their messaging are more likely to stand out and build loyal followings.
Second, messaging authenticity helps to establish identity and values. When a brand, print business, or person consistently communicates their beliefs and values, it creates a strong sense of brand identity that customers can relate to. This not only helps to attract new customers but also keeps existing ones coming back.
Finally, authenticity in messaging is simply the right thing to do. As individuals and organizations, we have a responsibility to communicate honestly and transparently with others. When we fail to do so, we risk damaging relationships and reputations.
How to achieve messaging authenticity
Achieving messaging authenticity requires a combination of self-awareness, transparency, and empathy. Here are some tips for achieving authenticity in your messaging:
Before you can communicate authentically with others, you need to know who you are and what you stand for. Take some time to reflect on your beliefs, values, and intentions – and those of the brand or print business you work for. This will help you communicate more effectively and avoid coming across as insincere or manipulative.
Transparency is key to building trust with your audience. When you’re transparent about your intentions people are more likely to believe you. This is especially important in B2B marketing, where customers are often skeptical of things that seem too good to be true – including social stances if they are not backed up in meaningful ways ALL YEAR.
Manipulative tactics may work in the short term, but they’re ultimately detrimental to your brand, print business, personal reputation, and relationships with customers. Instead of trying to win an audience or a click by sharing an MLK quote, highlighting the 1 woman that works at your company in management, or sharing ‘Gay Pride’ support in the form of a rainbow-ized logo, focus on building genuine connections and delivering value. Don’t think for one-second inauthentic sharing isn’t glaring to those whom this matters most – Millennials and Gen Z. They are the largest group of consumers and customers on planet Earth and will call you out and/or avoid doing business with people and companies sending out inauthentic messaging.
Consistency is key to building a strong brand, business, and personal identity and establishing trust with your audience. When you communicate consistently and authentically, you create a sense of reliability and dependability that people can count on. If you show support for Black History Month, Women’s History Month, Pride Month, and other such initiatives 1x a year, you are consistent in capitalizing on the moment, not for authentic support of these movements.
I hope this post will help everyone think ‘authentic first’ before gratuitously sharing. I hope this post helps you find the courage to stand up and be the champion of messaging improvements within your companies. I hope this post sparks the trade media to celebrate women all year with equal visibility to men through their channels.
And I will continue pushing.
See Deborah’s featured post: Five Signs You are a Print Junkie – 2023 Edition
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Deborah Corn is the Intergalactic Ambassador to the Printerverse at Print Media Centr, a Print Buyerologist, international industry speaker and blogger, and the cultivator of Print Production Professionals, the #1 print group on LinkedIn. She provides printspiration and resources to print and marketing professionals through education, events, Podcasts From The Printerverse, ProjectPeacock.TV, and an array of community-lifting initiatives including Girls Who Print, Elevate Print, #PrintChat, #PrintLife and International Print Day.
Deborah also helps companies create more meaningful and profitable customer relationships by utilizing more than 25 years of experience as an agency, brand, and corporate print buyer who has assessed, hired and worked with a plethora of printers and service providers.
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