The Reciprocity of Authenticity
Effective marketing and advertising starts with understanding people. Knowing what attracts, motivates, entertains and infuriates people is the lifeline of media. Critiques in the early-to-mid 20th century suggested that media weaken or delimit the individual’s capacity to act autonomously. The last 30 years have built a strong case supporting that assertion, by homogenizing our sacred diversity into exaggerated caricatures of our lost originality.
In the last decade specifically, we have crossed over from gullibility into pure affinity for sensationalism. Reality TV doesn’t represent my reality and I doubt if it represents yours. Fortunately, there is a quiet reciprocity building momentum and balancing our decent into delusion-masquerading-as-reality. I have decided to call this the ‘Reciprocity of Authenticity’ (copyright pending)
In order for consumers to separate themselves from the masses (which is really just another method of conformity, but that is for another bog post), they are forced to ignore all those shouting their marketing message from the highest hilltop and social medium. Instead, they must seek out the obscure, the genuine, the original…the authentic.
There is a reason why Man vs. Food has never hosted an episode from Applebee’s. It’s the same reason why none of the stars of Moonshiners and Sons of Guns moved to L.A., but their shows run back-to-back on the Discovery Channel. And it is also the same reason why Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs (@NathansFamous) , with 268 locations nationwide, has 48 followers on Twitter and Hot Dog Mike , (@HotDog_Mike), Little Rock’s Coolest Hot Dog Cart, has 3,913. Authenticity.
The most iconic brands in America scream this message as loud as they can. Coke – It’s the Real Thing. Wendy’s – You know when it Real. Rolling Stone – Perception Reality. America hates a faker, and we are particularly skilled at spotting them. That is why New Coke failed and forced Coca Cola to return to the recipe they have been using for 125 years. That is why Jack Daniel’s ships 9 million cases a year from a town of less than 400 people. And that is why all across the nation, consumers are building a tidal wave of support for small business and local economy.
Think of it like this. Journalists, News Anchors, Travel Writers and Bloggers need you. Twitter and Yelp need you. Why? Because without the Reciprocity of Authenticity all messages become the same and they become irrelevant. What is the lesson? Never sacrifice what originally made you successful in order to grow. Never emulate. Consumers will inevitably diverge from the beaten path and find you. The same way they found Hot Dog Mike.
About the Author: Tra Williams is Founder and Managing Partner of Eastbourne Brands. He is a Hot Dog Purist, which means NO KETCHUP!