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May 16, 2024

How B2B businesses can harness their authenticity and values

Angel Broom
Marketing Executive
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Being authentic and driven by values as a B2B company will boost your bottom line

Looking for a new jacket? According to Ibis World, there are 298,036 apparel manufacturing businesses globally. So how do you choose where to buy?

There’ll be several elements that affect a purchasing decision – particularly cost, quality, and/or location. But other factors that play a major role in where consumers shop are values and authenticity.

In fact, 90% of consumers say that authenticity is important when deciding which brands they support. In addition, 75% say they are likely to buy a product from a company that shares their values.

So, why are values and authenticity in marketing so important?

We’re now in an age where fake news, deep fakes and influencers peddling products they don’t actually use is the norm. And with the rise of e-commerce, we’re constantly being sold items and services every hour, of every day.

This bombardment of false promises and shallow marketing has driven customers to look for companies with more substance; companies that support their claims with actions.

Customers typically see straight through – and don’t appreciate – inauthentic and impersonal marketing tactics.

So how can you ensure your business doesn’t make these mistakes? It all starts with ‘why’. Why do you do what you do in the first place?

Values and authenticity – what's the difference and why are they important?

Being authentic and having strong values go hand in hand. But there are some important distinctions between the two.

AUTHENTIC: According to Oxford Languages, the definition of authentic is ‘of undisputed origin and not a copy; genuine'.

VALUES: The definition of values is ‘principles or standards of behaviour; one's judgement of what is important in life'

While values are about beliefs and one’s outlook on life, authenticity is about who you are as a person (or in this case, business).

Unfortunately, an all-too-common occurrence is businesses falsely claiming they have certain values and beliefs to gain social clout and more customers.

This is also known as colourwashing (which we’ve written a blog about here). Not only can colourwashing slow down progress towards positive and important changes, but it also creates distrust in your company.

Stretching the truth about your values, and not being transparent in your marketing activities, will weaken the connection you have with your customers.

Not convinced?

According to a 2016 study, almost 94% of all consumers are more likely to be loyal to a brand when it commits to full transparency.

And when you obtain loyalty from your audience and customers, you’ll see business growth, more people making repeat purchases, and an enhanced company reputation.

Almost 94% of consumers are more likely to be loyal to a brand when it commits to full transparency.


You may be wondering where to start when conveying your values truthfully to your audience.

First you need to establish what your values as a business are.

  • Interview employees and existing customers
  • Brainstorm your ideas
  • Research the values of other businesses in your sector
  • Workshop ideas with people in your business
  • Think about why you do what you do as a company, and how this translates to the values you hold

Next, start showing you mean what you say through action.

For example, you could raise awareness of issues and organisations that align with your values, or donate some of your business’ profits to relevant causes.

It’s also important to note that this action isn't a one-and-done situation. You need to continuously back up your claims to build audience trust.

Now, it’s time to tell people about it!

Communicating your actions and values both internally to your team and partners, and externally to your customers and stakeholders, is vital for a business. It deepens connection and understanding between your company and your audience.

Communication examples include:

  • Annual reports
  • Social media posts
  • Blogs
  • Videos
  • Your website
  • Case studies
  • Testimonials
  • Presentations

What to do: Mind Corporate Partnerships

Mind is a mental health charity that stands up to injustices in healthcare, work and law which make life harder for people with mental health problems.

A section of their charity is dedicated to corporate partnerships so businesses can work with Mind to support their work and help fight for mental health.

This feature is so effective because not only are they starting a conversation with individuals, but they’re opening connections with businesses so even more people can get involved.

Their website contains plenty of resources and support for those struggling with their mental health, including workplace wellbeing.

By pairing their business statements with tangible resources, more people are likely to work with them and recommend their services.

What not to do: Naked’s lack of transparency

For this example, we’ll look through a more B2C lens, although the principles still apply to B2B businesses.

Naked offers a range of juice drinks, manufactured by PepsiCo. These products are marketed in such a way as to lead consumers to believe they’re a healthy option.

Statements on its packaging once included ‘only the best ingredients’ and ‘no sugar added’, but the Centre for Science in the Public Interest filed a lawsuit in 2016 because they were misleading.

In fact:

  • Naked beverages contain between 6 and 15 teaspoons of sugar per serving.
  • Many of the advertised vitamins in the products were not naturally occurring, instead, added in by the manufacturer.

Following the lawsuit, Naked amended the erroneous claims and offered compensation to those who purchased products between a certain timeframe.

But despite its attempts to rectify the situation, both trust – and therefore loyalty in the brand – was lost.  


Authenticity and values are interlinked – being authentic is about staying true to said values and being intentional about them.

However, authenticity is about also showing people who you are as a business. It’s about transparency in your marketing. It’s about being open with an audience, even if you’re not perfect.

This vulnerability leads to brand trust.

“Your audience is used to ignoring inauthentic marketing attempts from other businesses. Differentiate yourself by being genuine.”

So how do you go about being authentic as a B2B business? And how do you share this with your audience?

It’s crucial you remain honest in your statements and efforts.

Establishing brand guidelines early on also plays a key role in exhibiting your authenticity. This is because it will help you stay consistent in your messaging, your marketing materials, and your goals.

A major part of authentic marketing is having direct communication with your customers. This may be through:

  • Reviews
  • Replying to comments on social media
  • Listening to feedback and implementing relevant changes

By opening the door to discussions in real time, you’ll receive invaluable feedback that will allow you to make profound improvements.

In fact, according to a report by Microsoft, 77% of customers have a better opinion of brands that ask for and accept customer feedback.

Another interesting method to show authenticity and gain brand buy-in is through ‘behind the scenes’ materials. Whether this is showing your audience where / how your products are made, the team behind the business, or a Q&A session.

And finally, testimonials are a great way to offer transparency. Sharing feedback from those not necessarily invested in the company itself – i.e. objective opinion – creates believability. This is known as social proofing.

Social proofing is:

“the psychological concept that people are influenced in their decision making by others, compelling them to act within societal norms or expectations.” - Sprout Social

Social proofing done well

Airbnb utilises the power of social proofing in their marketing brilliantly. In fact, as a platform that’s built to both enable people to host strangers in their properties, and for people to stay in strangers’ properties, their business success depends on it.

Airbnb includes reviews from guests and hosts which can include photos, stories about people’s stays, and their names.

This adds a personal touch to the platform, which increases trust from users. But it also provides details of others’ experiences using the service, giving clear evidence of customer satisfaction.

Wrapping it up

Authenticity and value-based marketing ultimately comes down to 4 things:

  • Honesty
  • Transparency
  • Action
  • Connection

It’s as much of a benefit to you as it is your audience. In return for your honesty, and so-called vulnerability, your audience will be significantly more likely to invest time (and money) into your brand.

With a loyal customer base, you’re increasing your chances of seeing more growth in your business as people recommend your products/services to others.

And it’s important to remember – this isn’t just for B2C companies, B2B companies should be doing the same.

We’re now in an age where businesses are trying to sell as much as possible and advertise wherever they can. So, when 57% of consumers think that less than half of brands create authentic content, make sure you’re standing out for the right reasons.

After all, people now value quality over quantity, and neither you nor your customers should settle for anything less.

Looking to find out how you can tell your audience about your authenticity and values? Get in touch at to find out how we can help.