don kerr

5 years ago · 2 min. reading time · visibility 0 ·

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Hide and seek or authentic brand expression?

I am taking the liberty of reposting some previously published articles simply because my fellow Beezer has created this All Business Hive. 

Hide and seek or authentic brand expression?

“On second thought, I think I am more crazy than my goat."

Remedios Varo

During a meeting this morning with a colleague we got to talking about how corporations spend much time, effort and money defining values and mission. We further chatted about how so very many of those same corporations figure that once the values exercise is done they can file them away and move forward. Just get the posters up, send out the notifications to staff, print off a wallet card and publish the values on the website. That's it. We're done. Let's get back to the real business of making sales.

That approach reminded me of the quote posted above. Why? Because it is genuinely lunatic!

“You cannot underestimate people’s ability to spot a soulless, bureaucratic tactic a million miles away. It’s a big reason why so many companies that have dipped a toe in social media waters have failed miserably.”

Gary Vaynerchuk

Take a gander at what Gary Vaynerchuk says. Perhaps in years past you could get away with corporate and/or brand b.s. simply by repeating it over and over and over and over again until an audience began to think it MUST be true. I witnessed this phenomenon in my corporate life during the '80s when consistent repetition of the same nonsense started to gain traction.

We're in a totally different environment today. Previously, brands told us what they were about. More often than not we now tell brands what they are by sharing through various media our experience of them. If our individual and collective experience differs from the corporation's voice - we win. We have greater influence. Now, if corporations wish to engage in authentic conversation, that's a different story because now we approach transparency and effective, emotional connection - even if it begins from a negative experience.

Simply put - corporations can't hide anymore. They're too exposed on too many platforms and efforts to engage in inauthentic communication simply won't be sustainable.

Here's Vaynerchuk again:

“Social media requires that business leaders start thinking like small-town shop owners. This means taking the long view and avoiding short-term benchmarks to gauge progress. It means allowing the personality,

heart and soul of the people who run all levels of the business to show.”

Gary Vaynerchuk

So how do you get to allowing the soul of the business to show?

More on that in subsequent postings but simply put - you willingly engage in corporate psychotherapy and willingly address your vulnerabilities.

Uncomfortable at first? Yes.

Ultimately rewarding and profitable? Yes.

There is no place to hide.

There is no reason to hide.

Unless there is!

Photo credit: Me (with all kudos to my model from Asciano, Italy)

Copyright 2016 Don Kerr Writes

To learn more about how I work with clients to enhance their brand expression and engage in meaningful, relevant conversation with prospects and clients please visit

You can also email me directly at or call me on 416-818-5608

To learn more about my special project and upcoming book on the male caregiver's role for a partner with breast cancer please visit

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don kerr

5 years ago #7

yup. See my response to Phil Friedman.

don kerr

5 years ago #6

Phil Friedman I agree that the notion of authenticity has become devalued as non-authentic brands and individuals co-opt OT as nothing more than a buzzword that resonates with certain markets. I stick to my guns though in contending that the current state of brand anarchy demands relevant exchange between people. Yes, people. Not target markets. Not stakeholders not consumers but people. Their is a requirement for a more humanist ethos where corporate social responsibility becomes an integral component of brand expression.

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #5

Nice goat pic Sir Don Kerr. I will now never acquire a goat so that my craziness won't be compared. I feel that the word "Authentic" has been neutered in its meaning like so many other words. I wrote a post on 'Tolerance' today... another casualty in the lexicon of words that have been hijacked.

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #4

Excellent post, Don Kerr, because it raises several questions that desperately require consideration. Most talk about "authenticity" is meaningless, because if you're the equivalent of the orifice in a donkey's hind end, being authentic really means being such ongoing. That, by the way, is NOT a joke. It's to point out that what we should be talking about are choice of, and commitment to acting on values. Thanks for starting the conversation. Cheers!

Graham🐝 Edwards

5 years ago #3

Nice buzz Don Don Kerr. I'm a real fan of Gary Vee and I think you are spot on about the need for corporations to understand to to be authentic (and what that actually even means). Regarding how obnoxious "values" and "missions" can be (particularly in the endless meetings to come up with them) I think they are a very important anchor for a business, particularly as it scales... those town halls with 25 people are much easier than with 10,000 when trying to get a "point across). I knew a company once that had a hard financial decision to make and in the end someone suggested they go back to the company values... it made the "payout" they had to make more acceptable. I think maybe in a company's values and mission they need to include "be authentic". This won't make it any easier to do but at least they will have it on paper. Banks come to mind right off for me.

don kerr

5 years ago #2

Good point Pascal Derrien I think it all revolves around finding methodology to engage in genuine conversation with consumers as people!

Pascal Derrien

5 years ago #1

I love the opening quote I will not be able to stare at a got in the eyes the same way :-) I think branding is evolving so fast that it has not explored all the facets of emotional marketing yet some call it manipulation I will be curious about the ethics of brandign going forward :-)

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