What Makes a Brand Authentic?

What Makes a Brand Authentic?

Exploring the power and meaning of authenticity in the food and beverage category.


Account Manager Bry Shablow

by Bry Shablow, Account Manager

The word “authentic” is thrown around so easily within the advertising industry. And we’re starting to see companies attempting to capitalize on the idea of authenticity everywhere these days.

But what are the attributes that make a brand authentic? And does authenticity truly matter?

We are in a time when there is more competition than ever, where becoming a successful brand is harder than it used to be. Online retailers give us immediate availability of anything we desire, and consumers have access to any information they need about your brand. It’s all just a click away, 24/7.

In the food and beverage category it is no different with 24-hour grocery stores, all-night drive-thru’s, and delivery services that will bring you anything you need into the wee hours of the morning.

In this atmosphere, an authentic brand story gives you a competitive edge. It gives consumers something to believe in.

But what is authenticity and how do you get it? At KC, we believe authenticity is a combination of any or all of a few key factors: an honest brand story, a unique personality and a product that is true to the brand’s core values.

Honest Brand Story:

Don’t just make one up. A great story is something that has truth behind it. There is nothing wrong with magnifying the truth behind your product, just don’t fake it.

For example, when No Name Steaks® came to KC, we discovered that the brand was struggling to grow because people were unfamiliar with the brand and viewed No Name as generic. After digging into their history, we uncovered an incredible—and authentic—story behind the “No Name” name. The creative told the story and gave this quirky brand real meaning.

Unique Personality:

Sport Shake Muscle Car Event Signage

A few years ago, KC worked with Sport Shake®. In the 1970s, Sport Shake was one of the first energy drinks on the market. (Yes, before Monster and Rockstar, there was Sport Shake.) But they were quickly becoming an outdated brand struggling in the very category they helped create.

KC developed a campaign built around their brand story. We created “The Coach”—a caricature of a 1970s high school coach—who gave Sport Shake a unique personality that was true to their history. He handed out samples at sports events and gave new life to the brand.

True to Core Values:

Bragg® Live Food Products (dressings, apple cider vinegar, nutritional yeast, etc.) has been in production since 1912. They have a great story. Paul C. Bragg and his daughter Patricia truly “believed in a diet and lifestyle that focused on natural live foods and a healthy regime for a vital and long life.”

Paul was diagnosed with tuberculosis at a young age and developed his own regimen to rebuild his body. He began the Health Crusaders movement and was a fitness and health advisor to many people. Everything about the brand—from the unpolished website to the copy-intensive labels—feels authentic to the core values that the company is built upon. This doesn’t feel like a multi-national global food brand. It feels like a brand started by a couple of people on a mission.

Bragg Food Product Packaging

Figuring out what makes your brand authentic and taking time to work on finding your truth can be quite the process, but it is definitely worth it. Some free advice to you: Make what you make with soul, do it right and do it better than anyone else. That is how you become—and remain—authentic.