Be Real. Not Authentic.


Reading Time: 2 mins

Being authentic is dead.
It’s been dead for a while – although that certainly hasn’t stopped the buzzword being flogged by brands all over social media, like a frothing Phar Lap on the final straight.

Even people who have only dipped a toe into the gushing visual river of Instagram know that this poor word has been used – sans irony – as a selling point for everything from cellulite cream to subliminal mindfulness programs. Until it has actually become a pointer to something which is the exact opposite of authentic.

Consumers have bullsh*t fatigue. It’s a good reminder for what can go very wrong with content marketing and social media. That is, when you try to leverage a buzzword or a movement, without it actually reflecting what you do or who you are, it is destined to backfire.

The same is true of brands that produce content that doesn’t really relate to their core product. Or worse, try and jump on inappropriate bandwagons. A bit like a tobacco company putting out a health catalogue.

The Greek philosopher Epictetus once wrote: ‘Know, first, who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly’.

It sounds lofty – but a lot of brands need to be a bit more Epictetus about their social media accounts. E.g. Using an unrelated hashtag just because it is trending isn’t going to get you more engagement. It’s just going to make you look desperate.

The golden rules of good content are:

Know Your Brand – Think about your brand identity before you start creating content. What’s your brand promise? Your statement of intent? Your personality?

This is important stuff. If you’re not confident, invest in a brand consultancy.

Know Your Community – Who are you speaking to? What do they like doing, think about, dream about? Create buyer personas so that every piece of content you create has an audience in mind.

Know Your Tone of Voice – Lastly, define your tone of voice. It should be real, to the point and natural. Not ‘authentic’.

headmark is a boutique creative agency based in Alexandria, Sydney. We love good content, great Spotify playlists and even better coffee.