For a brand to be authentic is definitely seen as a desirable quality, because it suggests that it will help it make the connection with its target audience. Authenticity suggests truthfulness, a sense of being ‘real’, of existing on the customer’s level.
At the same time, a brand is contrived. It is put together in order to appeal to this audience. How authentic can that be? If a design agency promises you an authentic design is this achievable, can your design be truly authentic?
Keeping it Real
Certain brands have a clear heritage, so for them, claiming authenticity is pretty straightforward. A good example of this is Levi’s jeans. They have a definite place in the culture, and their advertising can exploit this in any number of ways, tapping into a sense of collective memory, and even mythology.
Similarly, Coca Cola has a mythic quality. It stands for something and it has an inherent value. Regardless of the angle its advertising takes, its authenticity is a given.
But if you’re launching a brand, or a campaign for a company, and this heritage doesn’t exist, how do you create authenticity from scratch?
A Different Kind of Truth
Brand values should reflect a business’s values, what it feels it stands for in the eyes of its customers. Design is a distillation of these values. When a company has its brand identity created this should be about a whole lot more than attractive colours or a pleasing font.
Strategy and an understanding of what the client’s business is actually about inform design choices. This might seem like a big leap: going from a set of values to shapes, colours and fonts, but it is a key part of professional design. These elements, once combined, actually have meaning.
Now this meaningfulness is dependent on the meaningfulness of the client’s own business values. If these values truly reflect a concern for the customer or end-user, then they feel ‘true’, they are authentic.
Which should, of course, then make the design authentic.
Listening and Planning
When you discuss a brief with Reform Creative, we’re looking to understand you and your business. Successful design arises out of a clear idea of strategy. This strategy comes from an understanding of what a business stands for. We don’t hold meetings with our clients just for show: they are to gain valuable information and an insight into the client’s business.
We can tell your story to your customers, through your brand and your communications, in such a way as to convey the reality of what your business is about. This is authentic design.