In the age of the internet (which has democratized access to information) and social media (which allows for lightning quick social organizing) set in a context of what some (cf. philosopher Harry Frankfurt) have called a “culture of bullshit,” there is a growing cry for authenticity – which in the words of Merriam-Webster is, “worthy of acceptance or belief as conforming to or based on fact… not false or imitation : real, actual.” For practical application in a human relational context, it parallels the question: am I (or is my identity) true?
“Authenticity” then, is expressed from within, and describes the implicit declaration made by the “living out” of promises and commitments rooted in a chosen identity informed by (personal or corporately held) beliefs. Authenticity is expressed by the congruence of identity with supporting actions - in other words, it is ongoing; “an internally-known identity that is lived out.”
For that reason, Authenticity must be maintained, so a company can and must DO something to consistently influence its Authenticity. But first, just as a person, the company must know itself well enough to express an identity (rooted in Purpose) with which it can align its actions. This relationship between Authenticity and action is cyclical, where Authenticity (an internally-known identity that is lived out) is the antecedent of trust nurtured within the Culture and for the Brand, growth of which builds support for the Purpose, which then spurs on more Authentic actions by the company and its people.