By Mark Sperling

Over the past few years, I have been leading open discussions with brand marketers, ad agencies, creative directors, company executives and college students discussing what Authenticity means to each of them. It’s amazing to hear their responses and how diverse they are. Also it’s shocking to witness their perception of the concept as it relates to branding and how it conveys to their consumers.

Here is a list of the responses I have received from my talks and on Linkedin.

• Clearly expressing your beliefs / ideas. – Jason R.

• Letting your actions reflect your words. – Dana H.

• Being able to express yourself without fear and not changing your core ideas just to match other’s. – Jessica L. 

• Not caring what others think about who I am. – Bill 

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• Standing for your values & sticking to them. – Ling L. 

• Being real (not fake). Being relatable. – Bill C. 

• Keeping true to company’s mission statement & values of the firm. Being transparent with firm’s practices. – Megan C.• True to yourself. Transparent. Humility. Bold. Genuine. – Adrienne Y. 

• Being in the present moment. Be willing to reveal who you are.

• Being genuine and honest with whatever it may be bringing to the table. – Jen B

• Honest, truthful, real, no holding back, risk taker, confident.

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• True to own character and values, in private & public. Integrity. External actions match internal motivations. Alignment – Alice P. 

• Presenting yourself as you truly are. Not trying to be what you think the market wants you to be. Fearlessly honest.

• Being real. Honest. Upfront, good or bad. – Dick T. 

• Being true to yourself and honest about your intentions. Your worlds and actions match your beliefs. – Jody O.

• Truth. Honesty. Real – Dan W. 

• Setting a brand / person apart from another. Standing out. – Rachel S. 

• Having a “come as you are” attitude. No Masks – just being your best but real self. Purpose driven. Brands that engage with their targets, needs and wants – Julie M.

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• Transparency, Reliability, Beyond PR – Albert

• No disconnect between what you say and what you do. – Luke M.

• Realism. Core. The main thing. Most important thing. What you’re about. – Ed P.

• Honesty – Tom S. 

• A person or company that is real, genuine & transparent about itself, and what it stand for, without apology. – Kevin B. 

• Truth – Richard R.

• Transparency, Honesty, Genuine. – Mike C. 

• Operating through a brand filter … No bullshit trending (words like Authenticity). A filter dictates how you operate and communicate about the brand. – Parker

• Being who you are – not putting on the airs. – Judy N. 

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• Being honest and true to oneself and expecting the same from others and the world around you. – Angelina L.

• Real. Transparent. True to one’s beliefs. – Harry C. 

• Acknowledge Truth – Randy

• Truth. Being true to yourself. Being real. Individualism. – Debbie E. 

• The real deal, actual not phony. Reliable – Ann R. 

• Staying true to your personal values and brand values in everything you do or the brand does… This will lead you to also be true to your closest and consumers. Values = The way u behave or sometimes “act”… what describes u…know ur “self” first then 🙂 – Valter V. 

• Authenticity is something unforced, that doesn’t need more explanation for those that usually life with it. Authenticity is roots, community, something that you can’t sell massively. – Anabel P.

• Being you, the real you. – Rhonda E.

• Genuine. Personifying through experience. True to your core values in all that you do. – Robert N.

• Expressing your inner most and truest thoughts without the influence of social conditioning/norms. – Michael M.

• Defined by mission the tasteful and relevant creation and engagement from all angles – partners to consumer and beyond – John B.

• Connected to your customers via living the same lifestyles they lead, understanding your customers’ pursuits, aspirations and interests. – Craig G.

• To always be serving others by providing platform for live participation, a language of behavior, and a narrative for helping impact and change communities all over the world. – Timothy M.

• Authenticity is when rhetoric matches reality. What you say aligns with what you do…and both are recognizable by your audience. – Michael I.

• Staying true to who you are, what you do and who your audience is…and doing it with honesty, passion and a purpose beyond just selling your goods. – Jason K.

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• Being honest with yourself and others, even when it might not be popular to do so. Putting yourself out there and being vulnerable, even if you’re afraid of what people might think, in order to truly be yourself. – Andrew M.

• Real, raw, creative. Showing the viewer the good the bad and the ugly. – Roksanna W.

• Seems so simple but ….simply uncontrived. You can spot anything else with just a glance. – Brian B.

• Having a genuine approach to your target consumers/ customers that supports their interest and pulls at their heartstrings. – Jennifer L.

• To me authenticity means executing the hell out of what you want your brand to be, regardless of how consumers feel or what data tells you. Chasing data and culture is not authentic to me. It’s when brands are themselves and let culture, data, and sales come to them. – Jay S.

From the different responses, you can see similar themes to how Authenticity is perceived = Trust, Integrity, Transparency, Real, Genuine, True, Responsibility, and more.

WHAT DOES AUTHENTICITY MEAN TO YOU? Let us know by emailing or commenting on Linkedin