Friday, April 27, 2007

Being Authentic

One of the things often observed about Durham, even by news media in nearby communities is that this community has a soul. It is also called real and authentic. There is a cool article by Bill Breen in the May issue of Fast Company magazine about authenticity from a brand standpoint. Below are some things I gleaned. They helped me understand and put into words why Durham is authentic.

What does it take to be authentic?

A sense of place
Authenticity comes from a place we can connect with.

A strong point of view
Authenticity also emerges from people with a deep passion for what they are doing.

Serving a larger purpose
Consumers believe every brand has an ulterior motive. Authenticity is when a brand is convincing that the motive is a byproduct of a larger purpose.

Authenticity comes to a brand that is what it says it is… its actions align with the story it tells through communications.

How do you stay authentic even as you get big?

Ubiquity may not be toxic to authenticity, but it certainly dilutes it.

Can you be authentic when you’re trying to be authentic?

Warmth can wear out its welcome and feel contrived if it isn’t real.

A brand doesn’t feel real when it overtly tries to make itself real.

Can you be cool and still be authentic?

To maintain its integrity a brand must remain true to its values. And yet to be cool, a brand must be as dynamic as change itself. To be authentic, these must be reconciled.

What’s real are the experiences and connections brands allow us to make.

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