Authenticity Is (Unfortunately) A Novel Idea

I don’t think that anyone would promote being fake as a good strategy. Yet, many firms end up trying to convince customers that they’re something that they just aren’t (see JetBlue’s “Happy Jetting” Is More Than Empty Promises). So I really enjoyed an article in Business Week by Sohrab Vossoughi (Founder of Ziba Design) called How to Stand Out? Try Authenticity.

Vossoughi hit the nail on the head with this statement:

A single, beautifully designed product is nothing more than a beautiful object without the focused intent of a company that has taken the time to understand three things: the deep-seated desires of its customers, its own DNA, and the sweet spot where the two overlap.

The article looks at the unique culture of Umpqua Bank (who I recently interviewed for my research on customer-centric DNA),  the transparency in Starbucks’ comeback attempt, and the consumer relationships forged by Anthropologie.

My take: The article is completely aligned with my concept of Experience-Based Differentiation, so my only real comment is: read it.

The bottom line: You can’t fake customers into believeing that you’re authentic.

Written by 

I am an experience management transformist, helping organizations improve business results by engaging the hearts and minds of their customers, employees, and partners. My "job" is Head of the Qualtrics XM Institute. The Institute is still being established, but our goal is to help organizations around the world thrive by mastering Experience Management (XM). As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. Prior to joining Qualtrics, I was managing partner of Temkin Group (leading CX research, advisory, and training firm), co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (, and a VP at Forrester Research. I'm a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Check out my LinkedIn profile:

One thought on “Authenticity Is (Unfortunately) A Novel Idea”

  1. Hi Bruce…congratulations on your blog

    Like you I’m speaking 4-5 times per month on customer experience/loyalty/advocacy etc and whats emerging is a realsation that the organisation needs to be aligned. by that I mean execs need to focus on advocacy of both customers and employees…their combined experience is what adds to improved business performance.

    I’ve a great article on authenticity and link to customer equity that I’ve sent you. Incidentally your Forrester research colleagues have recently interviewed me as an expert in this area and I’ve mentioned some of these points in the interview.

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