Millennials have made it clear that they aren’t going to buy traditional marketing tactics. They prefer an experience to a product. They want to be spoken to, not talked at. Hence born, the authenticity campaign. But as Ad Age points out, “What’s authentic about marketing or capitalism?” Well, not much. So how do you connect with millennials on the authentic level they crave without being painfully obvious that you’re trying to come off as authentic?


The root of authenticity is simple vulnerability, it’s showing that your brand is human, can talk to its consumers on their level. Here are two tactics to nail authenticity without being disingenuous.


  1. Create a brand persona. Your brand can’t interact on a human-level if it doesn’t have a distinct personality, which is important for connection and engagement. Your audience is inundated with messaging all day, which means yours needs to be memorable. Try a bit of self-deprecating humor, empathize over a shared problem, or even admit that you’ve made mistakes and can learn from them in a way that sheds positive light on your company’s growth. Much like you or I, allow your brand’s personality to grow and change with the needs, interests, and habits of your company and its audience, avoiding generational stereotypes.


  1. Much like dating: stop talking about yourself.  If you think about it, there’s nothing authentic—captivating or inviting—about self-promotion. If your social media channels are flooded with your company’s latest products or achievements, you’re likely missing a key opportunity for engagement. Instead, try showcasing a customer’s experience with your product. But wait, that doesn’t mean you get to speak for them. Let the customer tell their own story—about why they use your product or service, and how it’s made their life easier or better.


While intentional and strategic, these tactics allow your messaging to shed the typical cold, calculating, impersonal feeling of traditional marketing, and can help you achieve #thatauthenticfeeling.