A day of learning, networking and artistic discovery, Creative North is the UK’s annual event designed for those in the creative and digital industry. This year, it was hosted at the stunning Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester. We joined some of the North’s most prolific copywriters, designers, marketers and all-round creatives, keen to explore an array of innovative territories and concepts.
Creative North is all about challenging yourself. It’s about embracing fascinating new insights and planting them into both long-established and freshly emerging niches. It’s about pushing boundaries and striving to be as engaging and inspired as possible.
Feeling hyped and ready to embrace the future, our first talk came Senior Copywriter, Peter Stephen.
Why being authentic pays.
“Audiences are seeking out the real over the fake – the why over the how. So authentic content might be the cornerstone of your business’ future.”
Today, maybe more than ever, people need authentic content. Years and years of social scrolling and swiping has left us somewhat numb, and honestly, a little dead inside. We’re all so over the ‘influencer’ bull , that all we want is a little transparency in our lives.
It’s no wonder that today’s consumers are so cynical. From the infamous Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal (remember when the Zuc robbed all our data and left us with profound questions of identity?) to those controversial ‘skinny tea’ celeb endorsements; we’ve built a sort of ‘content filter’ to protect us from all the white noise online.
To break this chain, Peter points out how content needs to be completely transparent, and explains that we must reach audiences in an authentic way. But how do we do this?
The more authentic you make a business appear, the more value you’ll add to it and its following. Jon Wilkins, founder of Naked said, ‘As marketeers, we have to find the truth that underpins a brand and use marketing to tell that brand’s story authentically.’ In other words, strip everything back. Be true to who you are and what you actually do, then focus on the following…
Define the purpose behind the business – realise what the business does and focus on why it does it.
Share your vision with enthusiasm and get in touch with your personal side – get in touch with your passionate side.
Develop your tone of voice – which is for life, by the way. Hone that tone of voice and dedicate your life to it.
Get to know the audience intimately – don’t be weird about it, but learn what your audience likes or dislikes.
Be social and engage – don’t leave them on ‘read’, and if someone responds to your post, engage back.
Share a few secrets – Go behind the scenes. It’s powerful when you invite your audience back into your own space.
Tailor your content to suit different audiences across different platforms – a blog that works on Twitter might not work so well on LinkedIn.
Only make promises you’re sure you can keep – nobody forgets a let-down.
Be yourself. Everyone else is taken – yep, that old cliché.
Don’t mess with the truth – in the future, only authentic content with sell.
The reason why someone does something often has a big impact on how they do it, so for that reason, it’s always worth remembering that human elements matter when trying to change people’s behaviour. Peter continued to expand on ‘influencing in the digital age’ with a series of hard-hitting stats from 2018:
Based on 2,000 consumers;
86% say that authenticity is important when deciding which brands they like and support.
57% of consumers think that fewer than half of brands create content that resonates as authentic.
He also touched on how consumers are 3 times more likely to consider authenticity created by consumers (such as product reviews, real -life customer endorsements etc), as opposed to content creators.
Peter finished with perhaps the most shocking stats of the day, revealing that around 81% of marketers use influencer content… but look at the state of it…
When asked why an influencer might take on campaign, 44% said it was relevant to their audience and 17% said that it provided an exclusive experience to them or their audience, however, only 14% actually claimed that it was because they liked the brand, while 10% admitted it helped them with their own promotion.
Speaking of authenticity, next up was our girl, Tolani Shoneye. A Digital Content Creator and Podcaster, Tolly was as real as it gets. Next week, we’ll take a look at how she interprets the ‘Freedom of Content’.
Rebekah is Content Manager at One Agency. She is responsible for creating engaging content and managing the development of social strategy. She was previously on the editorial team, and PA to the chief editor at lifestyle publication VIVA Manchester.