Sunday, March 5, 2017

Fake Authenticity

Fake it 'til you make it.

— Alcoholics Anonymous

My stint as a promoter of antiques shows taught me why authenticity is paramount.

Customers pay a premium for it.

Fake authenticity—what trendspotter Heather Corker calls fauxthenticity—isn't good for business, unless your goal is to dupe bargain-hunters.

Fake authenticity, as Corker says, results from brands trying to curate an "unfiltered" image.

The whole effort is ironic from the get-go.

To paper over the irony, marketers will label fake authenticity "aspirational."

It's a sleight-of-hand that lets them live with embracing phony claims like:
  • We're industry-leading. (Not really, but we could be.)
  • We're customer-centric. (Not really, but we could be.)
  • We're global. (Not really, but we could be.)
  • We're socially responsible. (Not really, but we could be.)
Marketers, I've got news for you: Your fake authenticity resides in the world of "alternative facts," alongside the king of France, colorless green dreams, and trickle-down economics. It's what antiques dealers call a repro, a counterfeit meant only to deceive.

The best customers are too smart for that.

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