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Defining an Authentic Brand

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In response on Pepita‘s comment here is an interesting reading:

Authentic brands are not about marketing. They are not products. They live inside the company. And they are held and enacted of the people, by the people and for the people!

Just like the Declaration of Independence created the foundation of a nation, so does your brand act as the foundation of your company. Its principles are the framework for thought and action by everyone in the company. Without it there is no consistency, no alignment between what you say and what you do, no synchronicity between who you are inside and the way you present yourself outside.

You may ask—“well isn’t that the same as culture?” The answer is yes and no. Authentic brands are in many ways the identity of the company culture. They help that culture become visible. They also embody the values and purpose of the company, giving all these things a face and a voice that can be seen and heard by everyone the company touches. But especially your employees. As the people who most keenly impact the day-to-day beliefs and actions of the company it is constantly amazing how little they are considered when brand is discussed.

It is employees who show the brand to be true or not. Authentic brands live or die with the people in the organization. If they don’t believe the brand, if they don’t feel it is their cause, no campaign or change program on earth will help it succeed. Authentic brands feel natural. There is no need to “educate” the employees—they feel it immediately. There is no need to launch the “new” brand on your unsuspecting customers—they have known it for years. When you are doing it day in and day out, saying it becomes almost superfluous.

This is exactly why you should want to find your authentic brand. Just imagine a brand that is enduring, that lasts beyond the next ad cycle, that is sustaining and sustainable, that feeds the soul of your company and makes the whole stronger. Imagine a brand that doesn’t cause disharmony inside your company, that doesn’t cause friction with the way you already do things.

This is an authentic brand!

Read the full Michael Hogan’s manifesto: We Need a New Word for Brand (600kb PDF file).



4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Pepita // Feb 9, 2007 at 9:03 am

    Thanks for pointing me and others to this great manifesto! I will be posting on the relation between culture and brand on ThinkingSparks.

  • 2 Pepita // Feb 14, 2007 at 7:38 am

    Hi BrandXpress, too bad I cannot trackback to your site!

    Posted another item on authenticity: http://sparkers.typepad.com/thinkingsparks/2007/02/good_authentici.html

  • 3 Bernadette // Aug 14, 2007 at 12:45 am

    When we consider a brand is like a person we know well, what makes it authentic? Why is one person more authentic than another and why does that matter to us anyway? It matters because we are all searching for meaning in our lives on some level and those brands that offer us a real emotional connection are the ones that create that meaning for us. Whether we are employees or customers it is equally important because when we engage with a brand we are giving away our most precious commodity – time. A brand needs to be appreciative of this gift being given to it by its supporters and offer gifts in return. How much gratitude does your brand express?

  • 4 FTC Keeps Bloggers Honest at The david ID blog // Oct 6, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    [...] been a lot written over the last few years about the importance and value of “brand authenticity,” the simple idea that presenting your brand and its core values in an honest, genuine way, is [...]

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