Fake news.

Bots.

Trolls.

They dominate the news—no matter where you get yours. “Fake news” has exploded onto the scene both as an insult and with actual fake news running rampant around the web.

And now on social media, it’s increasingly likely that a profile is fake, automated or used by someone with the wrong intentions.

In 2017, Edelman’s Trust Barometer found the largest ever drop in people’s trust for institutions, from business to media. The 2018 report found people’s trust level is unchanged. Even with brands pouring more and more of their budget into digital marketing, consumer’s trust in business is still low.

So, what’s the point? If people’s trust in brands is so low, is it worth it to invest in digital marketing?

We say yes, because it’s an opportunity for your brand to rise above the rest. But you need to do it well.

The best way to beat out your competition, to get your audience to listen to you, to become an authentic brand not only online but in all that you do starts with one essential step.

Know Thyself

No, this does not mean you need to have a deep philosophical reflection on what’s the point of everything. Rather, take the time to reflect on who your brand is and what you stand for.

Knowing thyself starts with reflecting on your mission, brand values and what you stand for. If your company mission is something like “to sell teapots people want and will pay money for,” ok! But realize that this as a mission is everything your company stands for—inside and out.

Your company, whether you realize it or not, stands for something more than making money. While that is the bottom line for most people, there’s more there.

Your values should connect to your story. When your values reflect your story, this is how you can connect to being a true and authentic brand.

Start with a Few Questions

While we said you don’t need to make it a deep philosophical moment, taking some time to reflect on key aspects of how your company operates can reveal what your values are and any that might be missing in the story of your brand.

Start with giving serious thought to questions like Why does your company exist? What does your company reward?

Consider questions like these to give you insight into what your company values are, and determine if they’re truly reflected in your story. When the behavior and values and good habits of your best people are reflected in the story you transmit to the outside world, you begin to achieve authenticity. And people can tell. They start to recognize that the image you put forth on social media and through public relations aligns with the people from your company that they meet.

When you’re able to identify these key details in your brand, you’re able to shape your authenticity. When you have a brand story that you and your team can believe in, consumers will start to see this too.