Over the last decade, there has been a major shift among businesses to be more authentic – to be more real, more human and more relatable. This involves less talking at people, and is more about having a conversation with them. Advertising is no longer about pushing marketing messages; it’s about connecting on a personal level with people.

More so than ever, advertisers are moving away from polished and perfect advertising methods into unique tactics that use real and relatable people and/or situations as the basis of their marketing strategy. And it is working.

It isn’t trickery; it’s advertising magic because it is authentic.

User-Generated Content Ingenuity.

This year, Coldwell Banker is launching their most authentic campaign yet: “This is Home. This is Where Awesomeness Happens.” From babies laughing to bulldogs problem solving (and so much more), they are tapping into user-generated content as the foundation of their latest advertising campaign. As a result, they have hit a new level of emotional magic that etches their brand into our hearts.

The snippets of video footage that make up the ads are shot by regular-ol’ people who share those awesome moments that make houses into homes. Additionally, Coldwell Banker is turning the typical passive advertising campaign into an active one by inviting others to “join the movement by sharing your moments of awesomeness at home using #HomeIsAwesomeness.”1

In an article recently published by brandchannel.com, David Marine, vice president of brand engagement, explains that while Coldwell Banker has previously used actors and voiceovers to tell the stories of the emotional connection people have with their homes, this year they decided to approach it differently. “We wanted to put our cameras down and have consumers pick up theirs. The majority of moments in people’s homes are happy. There’s an innate desire to share them. We felt this was a great opportunity.”2

One of the biggest reasons why social media has become so influential is simply because everyone that has a cell phone can now be a broadcaster, which is exactly what Coldwell Banker is tapping into. First, they make a bond with their viewers by using heartwarming user-generated content, and then they take it a step further by inviting them to participate in their campaign (#HomeIsAwesomeness). Ingenious!

And they aren’t alone. A critical aspect of being seen as authentic in the eyes of customers is relating to them on a personal level.

Real Problems. Real Solutions.

Kelly Zitlow, a vice president and certified mortgage planning specialist at Cherry Creek Mortgage Co. in Scottsdale, Arizona, is using videos to connect with and educate her clients. As she noted in a National Mortgage News interview, Arizona was one of the hardest hit by the real estate collapse,3 and now she’s focused on relating to her customers by using real-life challenges to educate her community.

In her video titled, “Mortgage Credit Score Misconceptions,” Zitlow explains, “We’ve had a lot of people in our community over the last 7 to 10 years who have had life happen to them – whether that was loss of a job, bankruptcy, foreclosure, short-sale – whatever was going on, there was credit that was impacted.”

In this 90-second video, she explains the difference in credit scoring models to help her community take the necessary steps to get into homeownership again. Her genuine approach helps to build a real connection with others while leveraging herself as a trusted authority in her field.

Relatable Characters.

In a recent episode of ABC’s “Modern Family,” Phil Dunphy insists that he’s a Realtor®, not a real estate agent. This is by design and part of a year-long integration deal the National Association of Realtors struck with ABC.

As reported by AP, “The Realtors are touting their services over licensed agents who are not members of their association, and trying to counter a trend where more consumers are doing their own real estate research to avoid paying fees, said Elizabeth Mendenhall, incoming president of the association. With Dunphy, portrayed by actor Ty Burrell, the group sensed an opportunity: a main character on one of television’s most popular comedies who sells real estate.”4

This integration advertising is clever. Not only does it educate the public about real estate, but it also channels through one of the most beloved and relatable characters on television today. Like many of us, Dunphy is dedicated to his family and his community, but he can also be goofy. There are a lot of blunders he finds himself in where we all think, “Yup. I can see me doing that.”

Make Your Marketing Magic.

In the end, we are all human. Whether we are talking to contractors, architects, purchasing agents or homeowners, there is something to be said for being authentic and transparent – for being ourselves.

The Coldwell Banker ad campaign, the Realtors® placement and the videos made by Zitlow are just a few examples of the hundreds currently being used in pop culture. They aren’t by accident. They are what resonates with others because they feel real and relatable.

If you aren’t already doing so, find a way to practice authenticity in your business (or contact us). Remember that those you are trying to influence with your products – sales reps, contractors and architects – are people, too. They take selfies and spend time on Facebook and Instagram – just like you. Whether we are B2B or B2C, we are all still people, and people like to do business with those they find authentic, real and relatable.

[1] Source: https://youtu.be/xImuAuZg_w8

[2] Source: https://www.brandchannel.com/2016/05/03/5-questions-coldwell-banker-05031

[3] Source: https://www.nationalmortgagenews.com/news/origination/tv-gig-helps-a-loan-officer-share-passion-for-educating-borrowers-1077041-1.html

[4] Source: