authenticity coverAfter swearing off marketing books for a while, I just finished reading Authenticity, by James Gilmore and B. Joseph Pine. My marketing tome moratorium was driven by the fact that there was really nothing new and engaging out there. (To be completely honest, this book didn’t help matters. I knew I was in for it when the foreword promised that Disney and Starbucks would be used as examples of authenticity throughout the book.)While the book’s approach is somewhat one-dimensional, it did get me thinking about notion of authenticity. Authenticity isn’t about Disney and Starbucks, or even Coca-Cola and Harley-Davidson. It’s about the personal relevance of  these brands. Brands are authentic only to the extent that individuals use them to define themselves. Example: Harley Davidson means nothing to me. I understand what it means as a brand, rationally. It is not a brand that I choose to associate myself with. Meanwhile, I have an uncle who lives and breathes the Harley Brand. T-shirts, hats, you name it. I even think he wants one of these. Authenticity is relative. It shifts from person to person and brand to brand. Maybe the bigger question is authentic vs. genuine