Your Authenticity Advantage Over The Big Guys
I got a powerful message last week about the power of authenticity. I attended the Green Business Conference in San Francisco, and Paul Ray, coauthor of the best-selling book, The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World, gave a compelling presentation. He explains the authenticity advantage small businesses with core values have over much bigger companies.
Ray shared that if you own or work in a small, socially responsible business, you have a big advantage over the â€œbig guys,â€ the Fortune 500-type corporations. While not every big business is â€œbadâ€ and not every small business is â€œgood,â€ the public does not, in general, place much trust in the big guys. Enron, WorldCom, and Tyco are just a few examples of big companies that lost the trust of their employees, customers and communities.
When weâ€™re smaller, itâ€™s easier in our marketing with both customers and prospective customers to share who we really are. We can share about our staff, our processes, our materials and why we operate the way we do.
Authenticity, Ray said, is not so much about our actual products or services, but rather it is mostly about the claims we make and the evidence that proves those claims. So be transparent, tell stories about how you treat your customers and your employees. Share about what you do in your community and how you minimize the environmental footprint of your business. Your website is a great place to do this for almost no cost, because you can easily add pages.
You want to establish that you and your company are, in fact, good people to deal with. We all want to be treated honestly and fairly. And weâ€™ll do repeat business with businesses that walk their talk, whose performance matches their claims.
For example, I recently interviewed Joseph Cincotta, of LineSync Arcitecture for my Be Real Revolution community. On his website Cincotta tells us how his firm treats employees: â€œEmployees enjoy setting their own hours, mid-week ski passes, and a congenial working environment.â€ That sounds like a lot better working conditions than at the huge architecture firms in New York.
Or take the example of a small business consulting services client of mine who has staff profiles on his web site that share not only what each employeeâ€™s duties are in the business, but some personal information about their families and hobbies. We learn that the office manager also is a mother, grandmother and huskie dog lover and the doctorâ€™s assistant is a native of Western North Carolina (a rarity in this land of transplants!) who enjoys traveling, gardening, reading, and re-decorating houses. They become more real (authentic) people to us.
With all the advertising hype of claims that donâ€™t pan out, itâ€™s refreshing to realize that being real can actually help your business thrive. So go ahead and take one step today to be more authentic in your business or career. I think youâ€™ll be pleased with the response.
Â© 2018 Anne Alexander, all rights reserved in all media