Our authenticity-obsessed culture suggests that we should “be ourselves” all the time. If you’re not familiar with what “authenticity” really means, it can sound like a phrase of the week similar to “find your passion.” However in our society people are shifting and much more able to sniff out exaggerations, and inauthentic marketing.
Authenticity for brands
It is now a best practice for companies to engage with customers on a human level, person to person. For example, lots of solo-preneurs with personal brands are changing their messaging from “we” to “I” to own the fact that it’s just them running the business. I’ve also seen a lot of customer service chats that communicate that customer service reps are real people, not computers, in U.S. cities.
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This represents a shift from “push” marketing (talking at consumers and pushing a message) to what some call “pull” marketing (engagement). Brands and companies need to find their niche or community and be authentic (values-driven, transparent, and connected) to their target audiences.
Authenticity for life
On the other hand, being authentic as a human is different from authenticity as a brand. Brands and companies often have clear guidelines on what they stand for, or what they don’t discuss. In contrast, people with personal brands have many facets of their lives where they need to perform and function.
We play a different role in each relationship and in every situation we enter. Being authentic doesn’t mean showing every part of yourself or sharing every part of your experience at all times. Authenticity requires discernment: Consciously choose the authentic parts of yourself you choose to show through your words and actions.
Striving for authenticity in life is a holistic and constant exercise and practice. How do all areas of your life look? Are they full? Are you satisfied? If not, where can you improve? How can you set goals that will improve your life in specific areas? Are there some areas that need more attention than others?