Americans don’t do authenticity well

– Angry Anderson

 

The thing that stood out for me last year was that the people, brands and organisations that had extraordinary success in 2015, were the ones who delivered on Authenticity.

The ubiquity of celebrity, meaningless content, and hypocrisy at all levels, has led to a strong disillusionment for many people in the established norms. There has been a notable shift from many consumers to those people, performers, companies, events and organisations that shared themselves, walked the talk, did what they promised, and connected with us on some real credible and authentic level.

Jennifer Lawrence is now the biggest female star in Hollywood. Finally an actress who burps, farts, falls over, swears and tells it like it is…her roles are honest, real characters that audiences fall in love with, but off screen she is the anti celebrity who bucks the system (or at least plays with the system!). It’s the realness that people connect with – you can’t fake that.

Whilst she has been much talked about already, Adele had the biggest smash album of the decade with her November release of “25”. It could end up being the biggest selling album of all time. Is it that good an album? No way! The actual album is not that ground breaking or necessarily incredibly great…. but, it is the whole real package we buy.

 

adele 2

Adele refused to put out the first version of the album she put together some two years ago. Her producer Rick Rubin said it felt pale and asked if this was the best she had to give. She realised she had rushed it, and buckled to the pressure to churn a new album, trashed the album, went back to the drawing board, and let the new album come through her true life experiences. “Some songs are not f…….g not good enough and I think that’s where a lot of people go wrong thinking that people will buy any old shit from you”

 

And have you seen her since its release, on the promo trail, Adele when interviewed tells us about crying, getting drunk, being stupid with her friends, the pain and struggle of motherhood, and the fact she rejects celebrity because its not the world to raise her child in. This is a real woman who speaks from the heart. Imagine the realisation that the whole album just wasn’t good enough and having to dig deep to find the real stuff.

Brands can learn a lot from people like this …already some of the brands Australians love for walking the talk like Google, Carmen’s food, Bega Cheese, Bunnings, Vittoria Coffee, Apple and many more have discovered that being more real, not overhyping, and connecting on some kind of authentic level makes commercial sense as well.

In a world of beige 10 second repetitive sound bites, the fake smile and the Kardashians, many of us are crying out for things that are more authentic. Things they can feel are true.

Personal authenticity is about expressing who you truly are, not what you think people want to hear. Saying what you really think and making decisions that are true to your inner compass.  And the road of being authentic is not always an easy one. Many people don’t want to hear how you really feel and, you can lose friends. But those that are with you, will love you for it. Authenticity and opening up makes you vulnerable to those around you, but that vulnerability can bring you closer than ever either to those around you or for a brand, closer to your consumers.

 

– Sean Pickwell