How a pair of adult unisex Star Wars Crocs showed me the value of bringing authenticity to content marketing
The iconic bombshell, Marilyn Monroe, was rumored to have said, “Give the girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world.” I know she wasn’t referring to a pair of Star Wars-themed rubber clogs (because Star Wars didn’t come out until 15 years after she passed— and for that reason only), but for me, R2D2 Crocs is all it took.
I know what you’re thinking. “Kenzi, please keep using misattributed quotes to tell me more about the deeply upsetting decisions you’ve made in footwear.” Trust me, I would love nothing more than to do that. But I came here today to talk about content marketing.
What has unwarranted confidence in footwear taught me about the content marketing industry? Its helped me to see the huge value of authenticity.
According to Bonfire Marketing, 91% of customers value honesty and authenticity in the companies from which they buy products and services. Knowing this, it’s safe to say that using authenticity as a foundation in content marketing can provide some crazy high value.
Thanks to my decision to rock Crocs in public, I experienced— firsthand— the value that comes from engaging with the world in an authentic way.
At first, when I told my friends that my Cyber Monday purchase of 2018 was a pair of R2D2 Crocs, I was met with the absolute hardest of passes. But I wore them out to a bar one Friday night anyway. Why?
- Socks and Crocs are wildly comfortable AND functional— and that’s the kind of rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle I live for, baby.
- My personality is essentially already wearing R2D2 Crocs. So, it’s not like I’m “playing it cool” by not physically wearing them. That ship has *way* sailed.
Spoiler alert: the night that I wore my R2D2 Crocs out RULED. I met tons of new people who went out of their way to chat with me because of my shoes. My friends leaned into the artistic persona that was “person whose friend is now a conversation piece by way of questionable footwear.” People were connecting and relating, simply because I chose not to be embarrassed to wear something I liked.
What did this teach me about the value of authenticity in content marketing? That it’s effective because it’s honest. It’s effective because it’s compelling. It’s effective because it’s engaging. And people connect with what is authentic.
According to a survey conducted by Time Inc. shared on Adweek of approximately 17,000 people, 90% of consumers want authentic content. There’s a demand for authentic content, and its value is proven in that demand.
3 steps to integrate authentic content into your content strategy:
- Actively engage people with your brand
- Boost affinity to your brand
- Fuel and accelerate your brand’s growth
Just as wearing a pair of Crocs may open up opportunities for people to connect and relate to you at a bar, putting forth authentic content opens up opportunities for people to connect and relate to your brand.
What is the difference between authenticity and brand/identity?
It might seem like these terms are pretty interchangeable, but they actually hold important differences.
Authenticity creates more space for genuine connection than brand identity. Why? Because sometimes we can get too caught up in the need to maintain brand identity. This actually creates more limits and establishes more rigidity than it does opportunity, diminishing an authentic connection to your audience.
For example, I wouldn’t call my R2D2 Crocs part of “my personal brand.” They’re just a pair of shoes that I feel good about being myself in. Identifying them as part of “my personal brand” pigeonholes me. It sets limits and boundaries to how I can present myself. I don’t want to lose my ability to display genuine characteristics just because they don’t fit into a specific, chosen persona. Especially because I, as a person, contain multitudes* (*am sometimes more comfortable in socks with Tevas.)
That’s also not to say that I think personal brands are, by nature, inauthentic. I think authenticity is what leads to the development of a personal brand. By telling your story, (or, as people who have the mental capacity to meditate and know how to keep plants alive say, *~living your truth*~), you’re authentically building a personal brand.
So, in your content strategy, keep in mind why authentic content is so crucial to effective digital marketing. As humans, we want to feel connected. We want to relate to something real. Authenticity is our way in.
Find your R2D2 Crocs and rock them hard, you stone-cold weirdos. The future of content marketing totally depends on it.
Kenzi Social & Content Strategist
Kenzi has spent the last five years building her career in content marketing and has four years of experience in drafting a tremendously underperforming fantasy football teams. She's the Founder of Wisconsin Women’s Entrepreneurship Week, but her greatest passion is channeling her inner “dance mom” via her dog’s Instagram account.more posts by Kenzi →