When it comes to a brand, what does “authenticity” really mean? What does it mean to be unique? When presented with the challenge of telling our client’s brand stories, the devil is in the details. We work with our clients to dig deep into what truly makes them “them.”
We’ve all witnessed the overuse of the words “authentic” and “unique” it seems every restaurant, destination, product and experience comes with the promise of an element that’s truly unique or authentic. We become disengaged by their claims. It isn’t that being “authentic” or “unique” is a bad thing, on the contrary, it’s important for one brand to differentiate itself from another. The problem is that the words are so ubiquitous they’ve lost all meaning.
Customers connect with brands when they find an element of their brand story compelling. This means, as brand storytellers, it’s our job to pull out those important nuggets and small details of differentiation. For example, you don’t love your favorite restaurant because it’s “authentic,” you love your favorite restaurant because the chef is using her great-grandmother’s recipe for the red sauce and she also uses the particular type of basil her great-grandmother used and now grows in her garden behind the restaurant. The chef is also hand-making fresh mozzarella each day using whole milk from the dairy right outside of town. That level of detail tells me, the diner, there’s a lot of thought, love and care going into each dish at my favorite restaurant. No claims of authenticity or uniqueness needed.
For destinations, it’s easy to get caught up in grand general statements about a region. Visitors don’t continue to visit Paris because it’s authentically Parisian. Visitors keep flocking to Paris because there’s something about the softness of the sunlight reflecting off of the beautifully ornate buildings as the sun sets each day that gives one the feeling of being in a George Seurat painting. Visitors can walk into nearly any corner bakery in Paris to be treated to an impossibly dense-yet-flaky croissant. Any other destination in the world would be hard-pressed to recreate these experiences.
Digging deeper into what makes a brand or destination stand out from any other takes work. It takes time, thought and research. However, doing this brand “homework” before crafting messaging is hugely important. It makes all the difference in connecting with consumers and if you reflect on your preferences for brands or destinations, you’ll realize those tiny details are the standout connections that compel you to tell your friends about your discoveries.