The Age Of Authenticity
What do we mean by the Age Of Authenticity? Consider the following:
By Cohn & Wolfe
In a world of ‘digital everything’, there is no privacy and nowhere to bury bad news. Data leaks everywhere, from the supposedly top-secret revelations of Edward Snowden to the private mobile phone accounts of celebrities. Digital cameras capture confidential conversations, brutal wars, dangerous working conditions and embarrassing political gaffes. This flood of data washes around the world at a furious pace: every second of the day sees 24,000 gigabytes of Internet traffic, 7,000 Tweets, 90,000 YouTube videos viewed, and 2.3
million emails sent.
This is a world where, one way or another, the truth will emerge. Consider some of the great scandals of recent years: Britain’s horsemeat crisis, the automotive recalls in the U.S., toxic food revelations in China, and Snowden’s revelations about government agencies accessing private citizen data. For those caught at the centre of these crises, few would have embraced the idea of being completely authentic, transparent and truthful. Authenticity was forced upon them, with all of the traumatic consequences that followed.
This is an insight which global brands must understand: embrace the Age of Authenticity or risk being left behind.
At the same time as As ‘digital everything’ creates the conditions for the Age of Authenticity, it is also changing the way consumers around the world interact with companies. Scepticism about what brands say and do is much higher than before. If we want the truth, we Google it. We rarely click on the official website, much preferring consumer reviews, recent news articles, and the Wikipedia entry. To put it bluntly, consumers just aren’t ‘buying’ brand stories in the same, uncomplicated way they did in years past. They demand more information and clarity, they yearn for a more honest and open relationship with brands, and – above all – they hate being lied to.
We identified this trend clearly in our 2013 Authentic Brands study, From Transparency to Full Disclosure, which was conducted across three markets – the UK, U.S. and China. It was clear from our research that consumers would reward companies who were straight with them, and punish those who were not.
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