Aug 3, 2016

Be Real. A Call to Candor from Emerging Generations.


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By Ellie Hancock, BrandJuice Intern

Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 1.53.04 PM
As Howard Schultz simply and eloquently put, “Mass advertising can help build brands, but authenticity is what makes them last.” In today’s slew of pop-up ads and mass social media campaigns, we are taking in and interpreting different forms of communication and stimuli at a constant rate. New ad formats like Buzzfeed’s Swarm allows companies to simultaneously reach us on each of our social media platforms from Snapchat Discover to Vine. We are drowning in stimuli and try-hard branding. At this point in time, Millennials and the emerging Gen Z are calling on brands to simplify and seek out authenticity. Authentic is an obvious marketing ‘“it” term. In fact, according to Advertising Age, “a Google search on “authentic marketing” surprisingly yields over 17 million articles.” This word has been used and abused and rather than saying your brand is authentic, be authentic in partnership with real voices. This is the key to maintaining relevancy for emerging generations.

Consider the concept of debranding. A recent article from Fast Company states “the future of branding is debranding.” One might be initially skeptical as I was, but in fact the concept of debranding has counterintuitive truth to it. First off, how do we even define “debranding”? The heart of debranding is ridding of any brand “camouflage.” This calls for embracing transparency and listening to real people and real voices. Raw and unpolished is the new charm. In the 90’s, labels reigned. Labels defined status and where you stood on the social ladder. We no longer need to rely on stoic branding. Millennials and Gen Z are driving this mentality. There is a valued relationship between product and identity. They have a sense of freedom in creating their own identities. Products are the tools in this creation, not brands. Social media communities and chatter evolve organically around product rather than brand. There is no patience in forcing a dialogue, but rather, customers are opening up one on their own, because one thing or another naturally speaks to their values and lifestyle. An undemanding brand is more likeable and shifts the focus to the story of their product and the real faces and names of those who make them tangible.

Simplify. Be real. Be transparent. Whether a producer or a consumer, their voices build a community and a brand identity.

Here are 4 companies we think effortlessly own authenticity:

See for yourself…



“We set out to build a company that celebrates the people behind our products.”

Quality products and a philosophy with meaningful relationships



“Every restaurant has its own identity because every restaurant has the people who give the identity to the restaurant.”

“A tomato is a tomato but understanding the story behind that tomato; how people use it how people live with it, what it means to the lives of the people in different places.”

Interview with President of ThinkFoodGroup Jose Andres


“Our values are at the core of everything we do. From ethically sourcing the ingredients we use to creating fresh, vegetarian cosmetics by hand, you’ll find each value in every product we create.

Thoughtful products and values with transparency


Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 12.17.58 PMIn a highly saturated industry, Glossier launches fewer products with context. These are modern essentials that have generated a community of voices around non-bashful and non-exclusive beauty. They are empowering women to take ownership in their skincare routines and celebrating every person’s unique beauty thumbprint and style.

Listen to founder Emily Weiss in her Forbes interview

Understand the product community at #glossier

To hear more about Generation Z, hear from Jaclyn Suzuki, Creative Director at Ziba Design

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