Creative + Co-Pilot

What I've Learned From Teaching as an Adjunct Professor This Year

The Trifecta for Creating Brand Authenticity


When I'm diving into a fresh branding project and trying to help unlock a clients true personality, they always have one characteristic or value they want their brand to convey. Authenticity.

Authenticity: of undisputed origin; genuine. How does one become authentic? First off, the intentions for the creation of the brand have to be from the right place. Is the client passionate about what they are trying to build or is it purely an entrepreneurial-for-profit or opportunistic venture? Trust me, if it is not built from love and passion, the general public will see right through it.

Authenticity is not one of those values or traits that you can just slap on a brand. "100% Handmade/Authentic" or "Authenticity Guaranteed" labels aren't instantaneous magic genies that imbue connection to those products or services. Authenticity is earned through love, hard work and trust. You can't build those overnight, and you sure as hell can't just will it so. 

Authenticity can also stem from innovation.
Not a piggy-backer, but a true visionary. Ground-breaking ideas can embody traits of authenticity. Elon Musk founded SpaceX because he views space exploration as an important step in expanding—if not preserving—the consciousness of human life. Of course he's in it for the money as well, but the idea that the private sector can further rocket propulsion technology and push forward with the right intentions, showcases an authentic brand mentality. Be original, do things that haven't been done, think in new ways and shatter the status quo. 

Authenticity also comes from truth.
Don't bullshit your customers or clients. Why do you think advertising is so controversial, very few brands outwardly come from a genuine place . Many brands use advertising as a mask, a way to deceive the public into thinking they need something they don't. I'm not saying it's all smoke and mirrors, take the "Thank You Mom" campaign from the London olympics. Even as Proctor and Gamble have a portfolio of multiple brands, this campaign reflects back on what really drives them. Moms. Acknowledging and speaking to those that make your brand what it is in an honest way will help connect with your audience and build an honest dialogue.

Authenticity also comes with time. 
So you're creating a brand/business/organization with the right intent, you've got a core set of values that you are committed to and you have all elements in place to move forward. Does that make your idea/brand authentic? No. You have the bases covered, but the only way to craft that authentic story is to consistently live by it in all that you do.

Whether it's how many vacation days you allot your staff or how you write and craft content for the web, consistent delivery of value, innovation and honesty are the drivers of any authentic brand.


Stephen Jones