Building an authentic brand through a DIY show

Everyone at Brown Bag knows I love love love “Fixer Upper” on HGTV. The television series stars Chip and Joanna Gaines, home renovation experts. I love Chip and Joanna’s vision, style, hard work ethic and personality. But most of all, I love their authenticity. They’re real. And the brand they have built is real too.

Brand authenticity is difficult to measure, but it’s a very important factor to determine how well you’re perceived and how trustworthy you’re brand is considered to be. Authentic brands are sincere, personable and believable. Using Chip and Joanna as an example, I’ve listed some Social Media Week suggestions on how to make your own brand more authentic:

1. Hold real conversations
Hold real one-on-one, personal and natural conversations with your customers. Get involved when your followers post comments that prompt discussions. Chip and Joanna are not only responsive and authentic to their fans, but they also provide new content based on what their customers are interested in.

2. Avoid any formulaic responses
We’ve all seen companies who use “response formulas” to make social media easier, but these comments can sound robotic and uncaring. Your brand loses a real opportunity to connect with your customers. If you want to be authentic and build trust, you must have custom responses for each inbound query. I love how enthusiastic Joanna’s reply tweet is here:


3. Express opinions
Opinions are often seen as dangerous territory; everybody has a set of unique opinions, and the very nature of opinions means that not everybody agrees with them. If you choose to express a particular opinion on behalf of your brand, it could mean completely alienating the other side. However, choosing and announcing an opinion—shows that you care more about your own integrity than winning people over. Almost counterintuitively, that will help you win people over. It shows that you are authentic, and even people who disagree with you will likely respect that. Chip and Joanna excel in this area. They have fans who appreciate their family values and faith as much or more than their design abilities.

Chip and Joanna Gaines are building their brand in an authentic and majorly entertaining way. Any other Fixer Upper fans out there? How else do you think they express their brand in authentic ways?