The word “authentic” is the term that marketers and brand managers are really rallying behind lately.

However, the word is often used incorrectly. Ironically, in a non-authentic way.

What I mean is this: marketers and brand managers know the importance of being authentic and having a brand image that will resonate with their audience. It’s a great way to build trust and rapport with those that you’re targeting. However, that is being deployed in a way that is contrived or that doesn’t make sense for their own company voice and culture, its a swing and a miss.

If you’re forcing it, or being fake in your quest for authenticity it can actually hinder your message and brand image and without you even realizing it.

Here’s an example: If you’re a CPA or other business advisor that is trying to target and work with high-growth potential tech startups it may seem like a no-brainer to make your brand image and voice laid-back and technology focused.

That’s great. BUT if your systems and procedures are rooted in old-school thinking or systems (still using a FAX machine?) and not centered around what your audience wants/expects/needs then you’re doing yourself a disservice and you’re not meeting the expectation that you’ve set.

Your prospect could be excited about what you offer and how you work, until they have the chance to meet with you and be let down.

How do you do?

So as a marketer, salesperson, and just a regular person, I’m asking this of you:

Don’t try to be something you’re not.

Your messaging and brand image will be more real — and authentic — right off the bat. You’ll connect more with the people that you want and that want to work with you. Your audience will thank you for it.