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.