Identifying Authentic Brands: 10 Signs to Watch For

Personal Branding
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What is one sign or aspect you look for when determining if another brand is authentic?

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. 

1. Social Proof

“The number one thing I look for when analyzing whether or not a business is authentic is their social proof. I check their content to see if people are sharing their blog posts online. I dig in and check their social media mentions to see how customers are engaging with the brand. I’ve been able to determine that some websites were total scams with this method.”

Blair Williams, MemberPress

2. Shared Struggles

“An authentic brand is not one that only talks about their accomplishments, but one that admits their mistakes and shares their hardships as well. A brand that shares their struggles with their audience is open and honest. Some brands tend to be wary about sharing their struggles, but sharing shows that there are real people behind the brand, which helps form a better connection with the audience.”

Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

3. Customer Reviews

“I love the fact that there are so many people online today. Everyone is more than willing to share their opinion on a product or service, regardless of whether they have 20 followers or 2 million followers. I always make sure to check reviews on the company from websites and social media personalities to see how their experience was with the brand.”

Syed BalkhiWPBeginner

4. Team Photos

“When I’m evaluating a company I always read their About Us page and look for a photo of their team. A photo is a great way to read the energy of the company and see if how they operate on the inside matches what they’re portraying on the outside.”


5. Value the Opinions of Their Customers

“An authentic brand truly values the opinion of their customers. Not only do they ask their customers for their thoughts and opinions and listen to them, but they also put those thoughts and opinions into action. A brand that asks for their customers’ opinions is not only benefiting by getting actionable insights, but making their customers feel important, as well as showing they want to continue to improve.”

John Turner, SeedProd LLC

6. Look at Terms, Conditions and Privacy Policies

“I always check the website’s terms and conditions and privacy policy pages to ensure the language and policies are legitimate. If I see something that’s suspicious or outright odd, then I will not do business with the company.”

Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Fem Founder

7. A Visible Founder

“Authenticity is a very strong core value when it comes to companies and that comes from the founder or the CEO. Do some research on them personally and see what they’re like. The best way would be to see an interview, an article about their story or a podcast they’re on. In most cases, you’ll get an idea of whether they’re authentic or not within a couple of minutes.”

Karl Kangur, MRR Media

8. Audience Engagement

“To see how authentic a brand’s following is, check out their audience engagement. While it may look like a brand has millions of followers, see how many people actually like, share and comment on their social media posts. What kinds of comments are they receiving? When there’s a negative comment, how do they respond to it and address it? These are all important indicators of authenticity.”

Rachel Beider, PRESS Modern Massage

9. A Professional Image

“Proper grammar, clean layout, bug-free UX, clear CTAs and other attributes of a professional online presence build brand authenticity and trust. When I see a spelling mistake or pixelated image, credibility goes out the door. While moving fast is important, that doesn’t mean there’s no time for attention to detail. Increase authenticity and trust to see an increase in conversions and adoption.”

Colton Gardner, Neighbor

10. Transparency 

“According to Brene Brown, authenticity is the ability to let ourselves be seen for who we are. Brand authenticity is no different. When a brand is transparent about what they are working on, the value they hope to provide and the areas they fall short, they are being authentic. If, on the other hand, their language is vague and confusing, or solely promotional, they are not to be trusted.”

Reuben YonatanGetVoIP