Is Authenticity the Next Dead Brand Pillar?

03.05.13 / Diana Fryc

If a brand has to say that it’s “authentic” you can bet it isn’t. These days, it’s said about so many people and so many things that aren’t authentic, that it’s pretty much lost its meaning. When it comes to marketing, it’s become an empty buzzword.

Let’s just talk about the concept and put it where it ought to be—in the hearts and minds of a specific group of consumers who are hungry for a brand that feeds their need for self-realization.

Authenticity isn’t about brands saying it—it’s about being it. Don’t use the “A” word to describe your brand: let your customers do the talking. If your brand has credibility as authentic, as unique and connecting, your customers will turn into rabid fans and proclaim it for the all world to hear. They’ll do the buzzing and they’ll turn more people into converts. They will use the “A” word. That’s how everybody will know that it’s for real.

11 Guideposts to an authentic brand

  • Tell your story. No varnish, please. If it’s direct and real, it’ll resonate.
  • Bare your soul and character.
  • Be one of a kind. No imitation of other brands allowed.
  • Appeal to a specific group of consumers.
  • Always tell the truth and never deviate from it.
  • Speak a universal truth that’s relevant to specific people and don’t worry about offending non-believers.
  • Focus on something deeper and more meaningful than products and services.
  • When there’s a screw-up, own the mistake and apologize pronto.
  • Practice self-awareness before attempting to stretch beyond your brand’s categorical boundaries.
  • Live your core values. Be articulate, write them down and stick to them.
  • Create an internal culture that champions employee ownership of your brand.

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