When it comes to brand authenticity and transparency,
it’s time to quit talking about it.

You ever have THAT dream? You know the one. You’re on stage, in a classroom, a client pitch, a presentation, whatever, and it hits you…”where are my clothes?”

No? Well, bare with me. (See what I did there?)

There’s a lot of talk about transparency and authenticity in branding these days. From ingredient lists and labels to cultural values, the topic is as expansive as companies themselves.

I think we hear it too much. So much so that I’d like to add those words to the list of overused marketing lingo never to be used again. (You know the ones I’m talking about: Synergy. Move the Needle. Disruption. Low Hanging Fruit…and so on and so forth.)

Don’t misunderstand me, it’s not because I don’t think it’s important. In fact, just the opposite – It’s too important to become a cliché. Allowing it to become such would only demonstrate how much people are talking about it, and how little they’re actually doing about it.

I believe these two principles should be woven into the very fabric of our brand DNA and worn proudly. Because here’s the reality: If you are not willing to reveal your true identity – It. Will. Be. Discovered. And If you’re not honest and open in your communications – People. Will. Find. Out. For better or worse (I’d like to say the former), it’s the world we live in. And if we want to be successful companies, and marketers – we must stop talking about it. And start living it.

Recently, Cards Against Humanity did just that. Not a brand promotion, but a brand purpose lived out loud. A risk-taking adventure that regardless of which side of the (no) fence you’re on,
there’s no denying where they stand.

And, after all – isn’t that how successful relationships are built? On honesty? On mutual respect and perhaps just a little bit of vulnerability and a willingness to take a risk?

So, my advice: Be yourself. Tell your story. Expose your truth.

The worst that will happen? You’ll wake up.

Julia Toth - Chief Creative Officer, Atlanta Art geek with the grace of Jackie-O and the restless imagination of Jack Skellington, Julia puts 15 years’ ad experience in a blender to deliver incredible work.