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Be True; Brand True
By: Janet Kalandranis
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All brands want to be authentic. It’s a brand buzz word that is discussed in boardrooms and one that many brands hope to achieve. Yet there isn’t a ton of conversation on how to be an authentic brand and the tools that are needed to achieve this status. It is necessary to understand the definition of authentic and then use some of these ideas to ensure the brand can truly be authentic.

It’s all in a Place: Brands can achieve authenticity by connecting to a place; an actual physical location, or a made-up one. It’s this place that connects the brand to something that is known or understood, but also a place that makes sense for the brand. For instance, think of the good ol' ice cream brand Haagen-Dazs, a very authentic brand and one that created its brand name from two fake words. Yet it resonates with those who love the brand. It grounds the brand to something “real” that makes the brand authentic, followed, and ultimately successful.

Passion: It can be argued that all brands are passionate. But true authentic brands can be created from people who have a strong sense of passion for what they are doing. These people put their lives behind a brand and ultimately forge ahead to build a successful company. For them, it’s less about status quo and more about creating and innovating and truly loving every minute of it. Martha Stewart is criticized for being headstrong and dominant, but she’s also authentic. She has created a true brand that produces homestyle recipes in a world where convenience is always top of mind. This brand brings about change; really authentic change.

Thinking Beyond Products & Services: Customers don’t trust brands easily. They know the goal of a brand is to sell and turn profits, simple as that. Well, authentic brands transcend that idea and truly work for a higher cause, and they let this be known so customers can participate. Think of Whole Foods, the brand that sells products but truly works to change something else in the world. Authentic brands are the ones that can achieve this because they are the ones forcing a change.

Be True: Authentic brands are true. They don’t lie and they say exactly what they are — that’s integrity. It’s not simply saying what the brand is but truly living up to this standard and showing customers that they are what they say. McDonald’s created a campaign “We love to see you smile,” that missed the mark. Customers saw the lack of cleanliness and the unhappy employees going completely against making them smile. Brands can say anything but to be authentic they must truly live every word. 

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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