Beyond Authenticity | TepFu: Marketing Strategy & Coaching

Today I want to talk about a very hard realisation that we’ve had, and that we’ve had for quite a while now, and it’s bubbled up. 

Authenticity sadly is dead. 

It was alive for a very long time. And the first time I heard authenticity mentioned was by a chap called Neil Crofts, and it must have been about 2003? 

And back then that was really valuable, because I had always felt authentic, and I felt like a real human trying to be real and human to other people. 

We’ve been massive fans of authenticity. 

And we’ve advocated authenticity. 

And now we have to be one of the people, and I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that; authenticity is no more. 

And this is why humanising business has been a very long and vital journey for us, and for many businesses to go on. 

Whilst authenticity used to mean giving real value beyond the self. And in fact is even defined by Stephen Zola as;

‘Authentic marketing is not the art of selling what you make, but knowing what to make. It’s the art of identifying and understanding customer needs, and creating solutions that deliver satisfaction to the customers, profits to the producers, and benefits for the stakeholders.’ 

….The problem is, whilst authenticity was a demonstration of one’s giving nature and understanding nature, authenticity has become something else. It’s become very watered down, and a problem has therefore finally emerged. 

There are many wonderful people in marketing, and there are many wonderful people in business, but there are also many like in any industry, people who are less wonderful. Like in business in general, there are people who are more Machiavellian, and will use whatever they can to win the deal, secure the budget, and close the client. 

And so the peddling of authenticity like a drug on a street corner, has meant that too many ‘takers’ have been harnessing the value of authenticity, so they can take even more from others. And that’s completely reduced the value of authenticity down to where it is today. 

We have to therefore move on from authenticity as a label, and like all good trends moving on is fine, as long as we have somewhere else to focus. And we believe we do have somewhere else to focus beyond being authentic. Which has been so sadly watered down by so many people, saying they are authentic, when they’re not. 

Because you see, being authentic doesn’t mean saying you are authentic, it means more than that. Being authentic is something other people describe you as; 

‘Oh he’s a genuine guy, or she’s really real – they doesn’t muck around’ 

Those are great ways of saying people are authentic. 

It’s not something you can say about yourself, anymore. 

It’s like being called a coach, it’s a name that the people you’re coaching give you. It’s not only a name that you can give to yourself, because it’s a term of respect actually and authenticity too is a term of respect. 

So what do we do beyond authenticity that enables us to move forwards? 

Well we believe the answer is service.

We believe that what comes after authenticity is service because, ironically, you can fake being authentic, but you can’t fake serving people. You can’t fake showing up. You can’t fake giving value. You can’t fake giving, and you can’t hide the fact when you’re taking.

There’s no truer way to separate the givers and the takers in life, than to watch who serves who, and how. 

So follow the action to determine the intent. 

It’s that simple. 

Follow the action to determine the intent. 

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