I have heard many businesses describe their online communications as an opportunity to have “authentic communication” with their clients. While I understand that they are discussing unmediated and live communication, I still question using the term “authentic.”

The reason this bugs me is because authenticity is a word that seems misconstrued in the world of marketing. I do not really like breaking terms down to their dictionary definition, but Websters explains authenticity in one way that I believe correlates with this post:

Authenticity: 5 : true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character

I believe this is the term most marketers would like to attach to their branding efforts and communication. However the one nugget of business that throws this off is the fact that businesses are there to make money. This means that for them to be true to their own personality, they have to be explicit in communicating that they want to make a dime.

I understand that this argument isn’t full proof, and that many business desire the relationship more than the profit. However I believe that it is very challenging for companies like McDonald’s to ever position themselves as an authentic food service because of their sub-par health concerns.

I hope that companies do search for authenticity but believe that the bottom line will ultimately hamper this pursuit for many businesses.