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October 08, 2007



Authenticity is about you the customer, client, live person interested in my products and services, not "we the company"! We the comapny has to get out of the way, out of the center... hey, kind of like marketers, says a marketer!

sean scott

authenticity is passion for me before it is customer. How authentic a brand is, largely depends on how true to its original passion can it be. Can it grow its customer base without losing sight of what made it relevant in the first place.

Customers especially the early adopters will flock to a brand if the passion is there.


Funny, I just posted an example of "authenticity" on my blog motifmarketing.com yesterday. As a designer, design thinking made me successful at selling beyond my wildest expectation, I outperformed the total company by 100% in the years I sold product for a manufacturer. I will never forget the introduction of TQ to the company I was working for - TQ was "the way I did business everyday" but the real concepts were obviously way beyond even the guy explaining the concept to a full room of people. TQ, Six Sigma and all those other "isms" are not "thinking." Lack of authenticity comes from "group think" and consumers can smell it a mile away. Design thinking is simple problem solving for one or for an entire target market and consumers know the difference between a self-serving solution and one that has them foremost in mind.

todd kalhar

Something struck me in your post at the end ... "[Song was] harnessed to Delta." I think that's where the authenticity test fails ... had Delta truly let Song go off on its own and form a unique identity, it might have had a better chance to succeed and not come across as "cheesy".

Lori Adams and Dermont Waters of CNN.com made a presentation a month ago at Adaptive Path's UX Week conference and they spoke a bit about how their relaunch of the CNN.com site could have been hampered by being tethered to the existing norms and culture of the company. Instead, they initiated a "Relaunch Protection Program" where they physically relocated the relaunch team to another facility to protect it from "drive-by's" and bureaucracy. You can get their session slides at http://uxweek2007.adaptivepath.com/slides/uxweek-slides_adams_waters_cnn_relaunch.pdf if you want to see the highlights.

Innovation and authenticity seem to both require independence ... from past practices, current bureaucracy, and preconceived notions or expectations. Without the freedom to do things differently, many of these attempts end up as "pet projects" doomed to failure.

Great post! Thanks for the thoughtful insights!

caleb chang

I remember in junior high when I took a job in a two-bit telemarketing job. We were petitioning people to sponsor underprivileged kids so that they to the circus. The daily objectives were to get the most amount of sales - people promising to send money. But, where the telemarketing company only made money when there was proof in the pudding - mailed donations. On the average, I was middle-low when it came to the daily sales target. But, I had the highest ratio of sales/donations mailed in. Why? Because I believed in the cause and I made my reluctant listeners believe in it too. What did I learn from this? Authenticity cannot be faked. It was only years later that I found out it was a scam.

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