Authenticity

Posted by on Jan 29, 2016

Do you ever have a conversation and an idea sharpens the focus of you thoughts and lingers in your consciousness? Like a bobber on a fishing line or a weather vane, the idea reminds you to make sure you have your bearings and be sure you understand what is happening.

This summer I was part of a panel discussion about building better websites and one of my colleagues raised the issue of authenticity. It was not a new notion to me but sometimes you just hear the right thing at the right time. A few years ago my career changed course; I switched from working in the marketing department of a large multinational firm to working with small businesses. Making sure that my work was authentic in a more diverse and changeable environment is critical to my clients and my business’s success. The word authenticity focused the element of my consciousness that always wanted to make sure the work we did was personalized for each client and their business.

Authenticity is not a hugely common or pervasive element of modern society, especially during election years. Moreover, while there are many ethical and honest marketing professionals it is not the first term associated with our industry. Personally, if I think about the purchases I have made and been happy with, much less the things I enjoy or are proud of they are all based on authenticity.

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Kayaking on Raquette Lake in the morning

Authenticity can apply to many elements of life, both personal and professional. For example, on a personal level

  • I would rather kayak down an Adirondack Lake than go on a beach holiday
  • I love the smell of coffee, I can’t stand its taste and prefer tea or hot chocolate

On a professional level it is includes:

  • trying to always use local images instead of stock photography; if I have to use stock photos making sure the photos have a theme and aren’t just appropriate shots for the page’s content.
    making sure conversations with fellow business people are about more than just getting business.

I firmly believe that real growth, personal or professional, comes from authenticity. We seek it and will return for more if we find a source. Though I work in the digital realm I readily admit to an addiction to books, a favorite is Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations. Just for fun I look to it for inspiration and was surprised they only have one quote for authentic, but it is a good one:

But as when an authentic watch is shown,
Each man winds up and rectifies his own,
So in our judgements
–Sir John Suckling, 1609-1641