Precisely how Authentic is Authenticity?
Genuineness is a word used in marketing these days, but you may be wondering what does authenticity mean? Whether the brand is two years old or a hundred years old, the quest for authenticity is at the forefront of branding conversations. It is, perhaps, the guiding principle whenever developing advertising and marketing strategies. However, defining it is a struggle, and plenty of room for errors. We struggle to define our brands within this vague idea only to appear, on occasion, as disingenuous. Before leaping into building a marketing strategy around this idea, we have a simple but in significant way vital question to ask. Is there any kind of authenticity in “authenticity”?
From your anthropological perspective, authenticity was previously tied to a cultural build and typically represented a good idealized version of the previous. Even if that past had been relatively brief in the grand scheme of history, even though it was tied to a single person around with an idealized understanding had been built, it was nevertheless part of a symbolic program that pointed to essential elements of character and which means. Authenticity placed the modern group, in this case, the shopper, in a symbolic lineage with the prior, giving it legitimacy and understanding a structure for what is usually and is not “real. very well In other words, “authenticity” is a kind of designed tradition and a series of symbolic markers that people believe signify how things should be.
Entrepreneurs and brands speak to all these invented traditions and line up with them, so shoppers look to them as being acceded with a powerful sense involving meaning. Elements of the brand are generally charged with emotional electrical power and cultural cues which tell the buyer, “This manufacturer is good; this brand is trustworthy. ” In doing this, we manufacture around a sense of designed tradition – think of the application of James Dean in skinny jeans ads. The person has been
removed from his human attributes and made into a symbol representing a few key ethnic motifs placed inside the brand by association. “Invented tradition” indicates a set of practices, generally influenced by overtly or tacitly accepted rules and of some sort of symbolic nature, which try to teach specific values along with norms of behavior by simple repetition, which automatically means continuity with the past. They generally attempt to establish continuity with a suitable historic past where possible.
For this reason, Coors’ seeming imagery involves pristine rural settings which mirror an idyllic prior, or Dodge uses idealized working-class men in their big rig ads. But the peculiarity of “invented” traditions is that their continuity is mainly fictitious. They can be representations from a current view and may have very little to do with the periods, anybody, or cultural norms they claim to represent. The problem with brands that follow this particular model is that the representation can quickly become trite or simply unique. They become easy targets for any cynical population with a potent tool, namely social networking, for attacking the images and messages as toned, unrealistic, or opportunistic.
Whenever establishing a sense of authenticity may be the goal of a brand, how can you go about doing it? You start by uncovering a set of consistent and shared values, a passion for a larger social sense of meaning through drawing the people making up the actual consumers of these shared attitudes into the organization’s daily life. You
don’t just pitch the brand name; you embrace it within the truest sense of the phrase. Sam Adams is a marvelous example of a company carrying this out. The brand taps into which sense of shared meaning with its customers by residing the ideals they symbolize and displaying the regularity between experience and information through its advertising and organization practices. A good brand is within an extension of the target audience, far from a logo, a found phrase, or a mission affirmation. The audience and the manufacturer become inseparable.
The brand’s reliability, in Sam Adams’s case, is not a set of traditions from the standard sense. They chat, of course, about the product plus the flavor, but they reach above that to explain the story behind the beer. They humanize and historicize the company and its particular people, turning beer into a way of life rather than an object. Promoting becomes less about promoting a product than it does concerning ongoing engagement between the men and women buying the products and the makers themselves. Rather than simply transactional engagement, the consumer, the company, and the brand become a section of a shared interaction. Throughout breaking down the Us/Other connection, the company becomes a member of the populace rather than an external force using whom people interact merely at the cash register.
Conversely, examine Michelob’s attempt to establish an identical sense of authenticity. Typically the marketing campaign revolved around making messaging very similar to that currently produced by Sam Adams. Attempts were made to connect the brand and the ingredients’ quality. The brewers are generally highlighted, as is the history of the trademark. However, Michelob spends almost all of its time talking about Michelob rather than establishing a sense of contributed experiences and history amongst the brand, its people, plus the larger beer culture. The actual
authenticity the brand strives to symbolize appears cynical because the information becomes a facade, a cover-up. The reality is that Michelob can make some genuinely terrific ales and has a long history that it can draw. The problem is that its attempt to establish a correct sense of authenticity prevents short of building a shared power between the brand and the shopper/consumer population.
The takeaway is easy. Authenticity does not stem from borrowing imagery or communications that exemplify an ideal condition. It does not stem from offering your experience, age, high quality, or benefits. Tapping into a feeling of authenticity and making it stay comes from a brand being able to turn out to be an integrated part of the lives associated with its consumers in a suffered, shared way.