IS YOUR BRAND AUTHORIZED TO USE THE WORD AUTHENTICITY?
Brands claim it, consumers covet it, agencies insist their shops can deliver it. The A-word is everywhere these days. Authenticity may be an overused term, but it’s the right idea.
The question is how do you know if you’ve got actual, genuine authenticity—and if so—how real are you keeping it? Authenticity is not shorthand for “a campaign featuring reportage-style sun flared images of models who don’t look like models doing everyday stuff, like holding a skateboard and hanging out in the back of a vintage Ford pickup truck.”
Authenticity means undisputed credibility. Who certifies this credit rating? Your good reputation is in the hands of your core followers. Those believers on the street actively extolling your virtues have not read your marketing deck or brand guidelines, nor do they refer to anything as authentic.
ORIGINALITY + TRUTH
Authenticity needs two basic elements: originality and truth.
Original as in you have an original story to tell about how your brand is different, and how innovative thinking led to your best product. Maybe you brought a new approach to a manufacturing process, or design and communication, or the retail experience…what is it about your brand that shines and differentiates?
The second driver of authenticity is truth. On the surface your product may not be that different from a competitor’s (Coke vs. Pepsi, for instance). But if what you offer as a brand is true to your product story and true to the values you set to deliver against, you will resonate with people who share those values.
A good litmus test is to read your brand promise: does it sound like a true statement? The closer you get to a universal truth, the big idea behind your brand will resonate deeper, travel faster, spread further, and endure longer.
VALUES ADD VALUE
People look for that that magic combination of utility, soul and character when making a purchase. They hate to be sold to, but they like to support what they believe in. The impression your logo makes during the moment of truth will be based on the real experiences people have with your brand.
A few final questions:
Do your products exist to solve a need?
Are you fostering the culture and supporting the communities that buy your products?
Do you make commercials, or produce branded content?
Within your organization are there designers, engineers, and others living the lifestyle and championing the culture your brand serves?
If your brand experiences come from a place that supports what you stand for, your communication efforts don’t have to be perfect. Do your best to be real, and your audience will feel it when they hold your product in their hands.