According to Forbes, digital marketing experts estimate that most Americans are exposed to around 4,000 to 10,000 ads each day.

In November 2020, The Conversation reported that an estimated 3.2 billion images and 720,000 hours of video are shared online daily.

Those numbers may sound daunting for the e-commerce business owner who wants to make more online sales. How can you possibly compete? Building brand authenticity, that is how.

What is brand authenticity?

Honesty. Honesty is the best policy. That is true in both personal and professional relationships. It is especially true between brand and consumers. Being honest with your customers builds respect, reputation and your business as a result.

If you are genuine and real, you are authentic.

Fake it til’ you make it is NOT authenticity. When you try to appear as something you are not, that is exactly the opposite, no matter what the business coaches say.

product photography

Four pillars of brand authenticity.


Consistency is an important part of branding. You should have consistency in your product quality, customer service, colors, packaging, product images and tone. This is all part of the brand experience and should remain … you guessed it, consistent.

In a world where everything changes in the blink of the eye, your brand needs to remain consistent. That doesn’t mean you can’t adapt, but never stray from your branding! Following this pillar helps your content stand out from others in the minds of consumers.


A credible brand delivers what it promises, when it was promised. Brands build credibility over time, by making good on their promises consistently.


Guarding your reputation and brand image is important. You want to hold it to the highest standards. Integrity means you stand by what you do and take care of your customers. There may be times when your brand fails to live up to customer expectations. How you deal with that will speak volumes for your brand integrity. That is one thing you don’t want to lose!

Values Driven

A brand that lives up to its values and being transparent about things is being authentic.

Why is building brand authenticity important for e-commerce?

People do business with people they know, like and trust. By promoting your brand consistently in a credible, values driven way, that shows your integrity, you become that business.

Consumers will go the extra step and pay the extra dollar to support a brand that does this. Think Starbucks.

Inauthentic brand examples.

Not being authetic can hurt your business. As connected as the world is today, word can spread faster than ever.

There are plenty of examples, but I can share two that definitely stood out for me.

The Amercian car companies were hurting. They were far behind on fuel efficient vehicles and could not compete. They wanted Congress to bail them out of their debts by promising to build more fuel efficient cars.

When appearing before the Congessional committee, the CEO’s flew into Washington D.C. The executives, begging for money to build more fuel efficient cars to help conserve fuel were not authentic. Why? They promised to help conserve energy, yet they flew in using private jets.

Monsanto is another example of an inauthentic brand. The company controlled much of the world’s food supply. It turned out, their “natural” foods weren’t so natural. They used generically modified foods, basically contaminating food people ate with chemicals and unlabeled GMOs.

Examples of brand authenticity.

Dove : (The beauty products, not the ice cream!)

In 2004, Dove started the “Real Beauty” campaign, showing it was more than soap, but a business with a world changing mission. Because 1 in 2 girls at the time had low self-esteem thanks to social media, they stated: “Beauty should be a source of confidence, not anxiety.”

Dove built their reputation for honesty by aligning marketing and message. This helped change public perception and championed female empowerment.

Patagonia :

Patagonia pledged to create the best possible products without causing environmental harm. They proved this with transparency to their practices. Patagonia has also made investments in renewable energy and programs to reduce chemical impact on the environment. They put their money where their mouth is and as a result, their brand authenticity sky-rocketed as their customer base grew.

Brand authenticity check.

  • Do you have a clear mission statement?
  • Have you shared your brand’s goals, mission and core values?
  • Are you transparent in all that you do?
  • Is your brand defined by colors, imagery and logo?
  • Do you have a story to share about why you do what you do?
  • Are your materials, website and products consistent?
  • Do you communicate with your audience? Or ask them to buy?

These answers can help you begin building true brand authenticity.

Brand over product.

There are thousands of people with products for sale. Most are out there asking consumers to buy. Brands on the otherhand help their customers and provide products to make their lives better.

Brands share stories. They celebrate the successes of their own and others. Brands support causes. People connect with brands that have messages and products that align with their own thoughts and needs. Brands stay top of mind longer and are more likely to get a consumer’s business.

“Advertising is the tax you pay for being unremarkable.”
Robert Stephens – Geek Squad

Don’t fall into the sea of sameness. Develop your brand, be transparent, be honest and follow the pillars and start building brand authenticity for your e-commerce business.

Tom Crowl is a product photographer based in Westminster, Maryland USA. He helps clients raise brand awareness and increase conversions through powerful product photography that reflects their brand and tells their story. If you are interested in learning more, reach out below to set up a free consultation.

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