We’ve noticed in the last year that every client brief, without fail, has featured authenticity as one of their key pillars.
Clearly, authenticity is now an entry-level requirement for brands, in a world where social media lays bare for all to see and encourages a more collaborative conversation between consumer & marketer. But at the same time, it has become one of those flabby marketing words – like ‘quality’, ‘convenience’ or ‘premium’ – and creating an ownable expression of authenticity is the key.
A few examples we’ve seen lately stand out as more ownable: Fat Face’s “washing our clothes in happiness”, Gail’s “artisan bakery” and Le Creuset’s depiction of longevity as “rare enduring cookware in a disposable age”.
Marketing’s race for authenticity is in sharp contrast to the recent hyperbole of election fever. In a world where politicians can seemingly say whatever they like to get elected (step forward odious little orange man), and then turn on a whim once they are in power, this is perhaps no surprise. Most major changes come about as a catalyst to sparking an antidote.
Perhaps the most relevant current example of authenticity lies in one of the marketing’s calendar’s most beautiful traditions: John Lewis ad unveiling time.
I’m sure you’ve all seen it but what lies at the core is its expression of authenticity which I’d perhaps summarise as “the ordinary elevated”. The saccharine has been pared back this year. It’s happy – but ‘achievable happy’. It’s heart-warming – but never smug. And it perfectly encapsulates our need for warmth, genuineness and steadfastness in these uncertain times of change.