What does authenticity even mean (and why does it matter?)


It’s one of those words – like ‘insights’ – that’s often used and even more frequently claimed.

It’s as if everyone knows that businesses and brands have to look and sound authentic to succeed, but nobody remembers quite what you have to do to actually be authentic.

Politicians, influencers, business leaders all appear to know that ‘the public’ respond better, buy more, and vote for people or brands who’re authentic. But often as not, they miss the mark when it comes to actual delivery.

As the articles in this edition of Authenticity Matters illustrate, it’s not enough to look authentic, you have to actually be authentic. Which means the actions you take and the commitments you make need to align with all that you profess to be.

FleishmanHillard’s latest Authenticity Gap research, which spans five markets, shows that where there’s misalignment between what an organisation says and how it really behaves a brand and reputation vulnerability arises.

How often do we see employees call foul on their employer’s claims to care for their workforce, be committed to DE&I or the environment?

In this first issue of Authenticity Matters, you’ll hear how people from all walks of life are striving to live authentically.  FleishmanHillard Director Pip Solway discusses Authentic Beauty and hears from Sue Moore at Zebedee, an inclusion agency committed to ensuring the visibility of people with disabilities, alternative appearances and trans/non-binary people are reflected in advertising and marketing communications. The voices of Gen-Z in the climate debate are called upon by FleishmanHillard’s TJ Jordan and Caitlin Whyte to tackle the subject of greenwashing, before we hear from Kate Nicholls OBE, CEO of UKHospitality who, when communicating on behalf of the entire hospitality sector during the pandemic, concludes that her passionate belief in the cause she represented was critical to building authentic engagement with policymakers and wider industry stakeholders. There’s even an insider’s view of the world of magic.  A place not normally associated with authenticity.

Ali Gee, Deputy CEO, FleishmanHillard UK

Our newest Authentic Insights report, which launches in the Autumn, will, for the first time, explore the cultural divides that govern society. And how brands and organisations can view culture as a key driver of protecting and building reputation when dealing with societal issues.

Subscribe to our mailing list to receive Authentic Insights straight to your inbox.

Contact us

  • Ali Gee

    Ali Gee has more than 20 years’ experience agency side and in-house leading global campaigns for some of the biggest corporate and consumer brands. As deputy CEO she provides senior counsel to clients and builds integrated teams to help them...

    See profile