Thursday, January 4, 2018

Authority versus Authenticity

For sheer magnetism, nothing matches authority. B2B brands that show authority attract customers with ease, and always will: they're in a category by themselves. 

But lots of brands lay claim to authority without justification.

The word authority came into English around 1200 and stems from the Latin auctoritas, meaning "mastery." English speakers of the day believed an authority commanded trust, because he or she possessed demonstrable mastery.

Showing authority means showing mastery of certain theories, facts, skill-sets, and tool-sets. If your brand can show mastery, you're setcustomers will flock to you; if it can't, it can at least show authenticity―another advantageous category.

Authenticity came into English around 1300 and stems from the Greek authentikos, meaning "original." English speakers of the day believed someone who showed authenticity was an "original," and therefore "real" and "trustworthy."

Showing authenticity means being an original: an original in your approaches to thinking, problem-solving, and adding value. That won't by itself attract customers, but it will make pursuing them a lot more effective.

Showing neither authority nor authenticity puts your brand in a third category―the category of mehwhere only continuous hustling and discounting and perhaps sheer ubiquity attract customers.
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