Us agency folk love to overuse a word. We did it to influence/r, we overcooked disruption and we are in the midst of killing pivot in these C-19 times.
I am not saying we will stop; all these descriptors have merit and I avidly use them on a day to day basis, but when you catch yourself saying, writing, and hearing these words continually, you cannot help but wonder if you’ve reduced the meaning of these once impactful words.
However, that all said, I need to resuscitate one of my very own most overused words for today’s theme – authenticity.
PR people have forever peddled the need for authenticity when advising clients – whether it be in comms to customers, in a live television broadcast or even just in an email to their teams – being genuine or real, in tone, content and body language gives people comfort, builds trust and drives deeper connections.
I was looking for examples that you may have not seen before – but if you’re like me, consuming every piece of C-19 content you can – then you’ve probably seen them all. So, instead here is a collection of my favourite pieces which scream authenticity to me:
1. West Australian Premier Mark McGowan loses it at the potential of Aussie’s going for a run and grabbing a kebab
Our politicians have copped a fair bit of judgment over their message delivery of late, but the WA Premier proves they love a joke as much as the rest of us.
2. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinta Arden identifies the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny as essential workers
Obviously, I cannot talk about authenticity without mentioning Queen Jacinta – continuing to show us all the power of a human approach.
3. We are killing Dark Mofo 2020
Anyone who knows me will recognise my obsession for this festival, however the above is one of my favourite communications from this insane time. It maintains an authentic brand tone while being completely transparent.
4. Hamish Blake crashes Zoom Meetings
I am going to just say it – Hamish Blake has won C-19 content (I appreciate the ADF would disagree). He can do no wrong and while this may seem a random example – I love how he has brought his hilarious TV and radio stunts into our new normal.
Authenticity can differentiate a poor leader or brand from a great one and even allows the ability for a person or brand to be seen favourably in a crisis. As leaders and brands walk the authenticity tightrope in this unique period, the line between being perceived as innovative or opportunistic can become blurry. Over the last few weeks, I have had various conversations around balancing the potential of being too opportunistic.
No one wants to be presumed to be taking advantage of this new way of life, but the fact is our behaviour has changed, it will keep changing, and we all need to continue adapting.
We are still are unclear about the extent to which our lives will change forever, however if you are being true to your brand’s values or proposition, honest with yourself as a leader/ person, genuine in your intent and human in your delivery, you know you are being authentic.