Being your brand’s true self:

Authenticity is all a buzz in the marketing world these days; but have you ever stopped to ask why?

Why are companies working so hard to convince us that they are authentic? But it seems the more they say it the less we believe it. This is probably because corporate America spent decades being anything but authentic – they were the poster-child of inauthenticity because they were creating facades and stories that did not have to have much substance behind them because regular, everyday customers did not have the ability to see behind the facade. And let’s face it; the historically transactional nature of the relationship between most brands and their customers is not a great starting place for authenticity.

But in today’s world, that relationship between customers and brands has changed as the new generation (yes those [Millennials]( again) expects more than just a simple transaction – they demand to understand the beliefs, values and business practices of the companies that they do business with. They have lots of choices of brands to select from and they are picking brands that reflect their value system and their worldview. They care as much, or more, about how a company conducts their business as they do about what they are making.

So brands today are rushing to prove they are authentic. Articles are being written; blogs are being shared, all in the service of creating authenticity. But, doesn’t that seem a bit inauthentic? Can you really create authenticity or are you authentic because of something that is intrinsic to who you are? Authenticity a result of acting on beliefs – it is an outcome not an initiative.

#### 5 suggestions to realizing what equals true brand authenticity:

1. Look inside to understand the “whys” and the “hows” before you explore the “whats” of your brand. There is a culture there – document it and help it come to life.

2. Live the concept of transparency. Own who you are, don’t hide it and be open about your business practices. It is the key to ever being considered as authentic and it is expected practice.

3. Do not try to be something you are not, embrace the truth of the organization – the things that make you unique as a brand.

4. Finding audiences – internal and external – who share that worldview and connect to the things that they value.

5. Nothing is more inauthentic than trying to convince people that you are authentic.

Authenticity is a result of these things, not something that can be created and curated. Stop trying to prove your brand is authentic and instead become your authentic self and then own it. I’d love to hear your thoughts – shoot me an email or post a comment below.