“Brands must recognize the interconnectedness of all actions and use their position to truly improve the society they inhabit.”
“Brands must embrace the unique buying pathways of their target customers, and build experiences that align with various segments of their audience.” 7
Black Business
Support
Glossier
Why am I Telling You
All of This?
Sustainability
Report 2019
Oatly
Today’s consumers want a more honest relationship with brands.
94% say they’re likely to be loyal2 to a brand that offers complete transparency. If you are building a brand today, regardless of the size of your company, you may want to consider standing out by being open and transparent but with a twist that positions and separates your brand from the crowd.

Some leading brands are resorting to a simple premise: let's just be honest and transparent. Brand transparency is about building a genuine, honest and authentic relationship between brands and consumers by giving them complete access to every stage of the brand journey such as; detailed insights regarding the source of materials, how the product was made, what values guided the production process and so on.
How can visual design reflect a brand’s personality?
Gingerbread
Höme Kit
Ikea
Genuine connections require removing borders so people can experience brands authentically.
Airbnb.com
Airbnb
Evolving by
Design
Airbnb Design
People will remember brands for their acts of good in a time of crisis, particularly if the actions are done with true heart and generosity.
This part may seem like a conclusion, but you could think of this as a pause in the process where I can review my learning which is a continous process and decide where to go next. I’ve gained an awareness of brand authenticity that is an intersectional concept which casted new light on my design thinking. I’ve begun to see the learnings in my actions and my choices. This process also renewed my understanding of everything I create, the decisions I make as a designer when it comes to give a voice to a brand. This digital user’s guide, is not fully reflective of my learnings either. But it has helped me get to this point where I am able to see the concept clearer, and understand that brand authenticity, is about reflecting identity genuinely.

Finally, circling back to digital world we live in which continues to grow, and more people join the online revolution, brands are more at the eye-level than ever. Brand authenticity became necessary for companies who want to get ahead of the market competition. Authentic brands earn the long-term loyalty of their customers – even if they do make a few mistakes along the way because they’re easy to resonate with and understand. The more a brand reflects it’s true identity to its consumers the more it will stay in the cultural conversations.
A new generation of customers expect brands to own up to their position of power, and do more than provide a product.
Consumers expect brands to engage
with them in a consistent way across all touchpoints. Both on- and offline.
While being homebound causes stress and isolation for so many, IKEA has developed instructions for how to assemble the Billy bookcase and some of its other seminal furniture designs using gingerbread and icing instead of screws. The Gingerbread Höme assembly kits, which can be downloaded and printed out at home, resemble the company's traditional instruction manuals, including everything from the inventory to the step-by-step illustrations.
Spotify’s 2020 Wrapped is created to give the brand’s users an opportunity to look back on the year. Spotify created a personalized sum up of musics, podcasts and artists for each of their users had discovered throughout 2020. Especially for many of us, music and podcasts helped get us through these difficult times.
For Once,
Don’t Do It
Nike
Brand Experience encompasses most of the aspects when it comes to consumers experiencing a brand. To understand what makes a brand experience authentic, considering how the experience relates to other key branding elements like brand identity and brand voice. Creating a consistent brand identity from one touchpoint to the other makes a brand easily recognizable, building trust across channels, and connects everything to create a single brand experience.
Can design power a company’s evolution? The brands who are constantly in the cultural conversations started to place a strong emphasis on their brand experience. For example, Apple, from their retail store to their packaging, to their interface design, all the points in which we interact with the brand are curated and harmonious with the overall brand experience.
Can design power a company’s evolution? The brands who are constantly in the cultural conversations started to place a strong emphasis on their brand experience. For example, Apple, from their retail store to their packaging, to their interface design, all the points in which we interact with the brand are curated and harmonious with the overall brand experience.
“Design is in our DNA and it’s embedded in everything we do: it’s how we foster creative culture, iterate on our product, and make meaningful connections with the global community of travelers who are the heart of our brand.”6
Building
Genuine
Connections
Patagonia is a heritage outdoors brand, and is well known for their environmental production processes, their contributions to environmental causes, and their commitment to encouraging people to buy less. This effort makes us think about our responsibility to the outdoors to ensure that we keep these places safe so we can continue to have meaningful experiences in nature. And one way to do that is to support Patagonia, because the brand's actually doing things to protect the natural environment. Which led Patagonia to create a webpage that provides links for visitors to email congress with their concerns, helping to create social action around the ongoing climate issue.
In 2017, President Trump has issued issued a proclamation slashing Bears Ears National Monument by 85 percent, putting over a million acres of this ecosystem, thousands of archaeological sites, and a cultural landscape sacred to tribes at risk from extractive industries and development.5  Patagonia decided to create an educational initative website that is an interactive experience that consists 360-degree films highlight the cultural and recreational significance of the region in Southeastern Utah.
The way that consumer interact with brands today is changing. They don’t only follow brands that delivers exceptional products and services, but also a brand that contributes to the community, becomes more transparent, and takes an active role in addressing universal issues.

Responsible brands all exhibit some type of social mission or purpose — this responsibility isn’t an "add on," but rather a value or set of values that live deep in the very DNA of the brand. Brands stepping up to be part of that resistance is important for people to believe that they have a voice.
Environmental
Activism
Patagonia
Bears Ears
Monument
Patagonia
Consistency
in Brand
Experience
Being
Responsible
& Accountable
Oatly is a world leader in the global sustainability movement, promoting the benefits of plantbased eating from both a nutritional and sustainability standpoint, in order to creative positive societal change. Every year, plant-based milk brand Oatly, creates a sustainability report for their consumer’s to see the brand’s succeses and failures, and what they are doing as a transparent, science-based, sustainability company.

This year the report is in a form of a website, which is an engaging scroll through page that consists their brand values, where they choose to make their products, their packaging recyclability, their overall corporate climate foot-print, their working conditions and so much more.
Until now, Oatly has done everything right, but then they did something completely opposite to their brand values which let down their consumers.
Why Did
We Chose
Blackstone
Oatly
Beginning of 2020, Oatly has decided to receive an investment from Blackstone, a powerful provate equity company known for it’s role in deforestation and also headed by Trump donor Stephen Schwartman. By this unexpected decision, Oatly has encountered countless protests from many of their customers and also climate activists. Why would Oatly decide on something that doesn’t align with it’s values? Why risk to lose customers?

After receiving many critics, Oatly used their digital communication channels (website and social media) to offer their customers the backstory of their decision. “Getting a company like Blackstone to invest in us is something we have been working on to create maximum change to benefit the planet. From a sustainability perspective, we are convinced that helping shift the focus of massive capital towards sustainable approaches is potentially the single most important thing we can do for the planet in the long-term.”3

When this misalignment occurs, brands can be perceived to be engaging in inauthentic brand activism, potentially damaging brand legitimacy and authenticity perceptions and also causing consumer loss of trust.
Did Oatly’s communication strategy by being transparent took then back in being engaged in authentic conversations?
Demonstrating
Humanity
Today’s consumers recognize authenticity from the companies who show their contributions
are material and not solely for commercial benefit.
A creative identity built to engage with the values of your customers can help tie your brand to a specific value set or personality.
Glossier is a beauty brand who want to change how the world sees beauty. Glossier has provided $500,000 in grants to the next generation of Black leaders in the beauty industry. They committed to putting  $500K in donations to organizations fighting racial injustice, and another $500K in the form of grants to Black-owned beauty businesses. They also used their communication channels to introduce these founders, their stories, and their businesses to the brand’s community.
2020
Wrapped
Spotify
Demonstrating
Humanity
1.
2.
4.
3.
Building
Genuine
Connections
Consistency
in Brand
Experience
Being
Responsible
& Accountable
Here are the major aspects of brand authenticity that dominates the brand industry today and the role visual design play’s in creating it.
Contemporary Consumer
Expectations
With the rise of digital media, the search for brand authenticity became necessary in terms of demonstrating the values, credibility, and ethics of a brand whilst building an emotional and honest connection with its consumers.

Visual design plays an important role in helping brands communicate their identities,values and beliefs. A brand’s visual design conveys the personality of a brand, with the tens of countless options, can set a differentitated and unique tone that aligns with the core values of a particular audience. How can a brand’s visual design create brand authenticity in the contemporary consumer-brand relationships?

Branding Authenticity: A User’s Guide serves as a space that gathers new sources, organises thoughts, reflect on  learnings, and observe change within consumer expectations from brands today. This page will continue to grow and change as I continue to learn.

If you are reading this, I ask that you stay and read on, not so I can teach you something, just so you might be inspired to do the same- learn and raise questions on
the role of visual design in creating contemporary brand authenticity.
The age of social media has led the world to become more connected than ever which created a surface for consumers to access to instant information. This has changed the role of brands from being authorities to peers. Therefore, consumers want brands to be more human, more engaged, and more relatable than ever. They want brands to exhibit honesty, authenticity and transparency and other features that we seek in individuals. Consumers do not want to be “talked to” anymore. They want to interact, converse, buy, and follow brands that care about them.

In the age of authenticity,
consumers will only respond to personalized, transparent and humanized experiences. But within the standardization and homogenization of the marketplace, not every brand can offer the necessary distinctive experience for their consumers. So how do we get there?

Branding Authenticity: A User’s Guide will guide you through four main aspects that is relevant to consider when it comes to creating brand authenticity within the contemporary consumer expectations.
Brands have the ability to demonstrate humanity through core emotional and functional attributes. Emotional indicators provided some of the strongest drivers to consumer’s perception that a brand was dealing with them in a human way.

Initially, when the world entered quarantine and brands needed to adapt their creative messaging in advertising, social engagement, and digital experience, many led with familiar-feeling tactics. Brands responded to coronavirus concerns with a collective “We are here for you”, consumers responded by digging deeper into what brands were actually doing.

Many brands are no strangers to crisis management, but the global scale and continued uncertainty around COVID-19 is a first for many brands.
With so much changing so fast during this difficult time, what actions can brands take to serve and grow their customer base, minimize risk, and take care of their people?
1. "Marketing in the age of authenticity". monotype.com
2. "What Happens When Brand Storytelling Isn’t Built on Authenticity?". eyeondesign.aiga.org, 2020
3. "How brands can stand out amidst the digital noise". monotype.com
4. "The Role of Authenticity and Transparency in Marketing". medium.com, 2017
5. "The Value of Authenticity in Design". medium.com, 2020
Preface
A digital user’s guide designed for brand creators, brand strategist and marketers.

Created in order to understand the role of visual design in creating brand authenticity in the contemporary brand industry.
Gingerbread
Höme Kit
Ikea
Bear’s Ears
Monument
Patagonia
2020 Wrapped
Spotify

Demonstrating
Humanity

Why Did We Chose
Blackstone
Oatly
Sustainability
Report 2019
Oatly
Building
Genuine
Connections
Being
Responsible
& Accountable
Consistency
in Brand
Experience
Here are the major aspects of brand authenticity that dominates the brand industry today and the role visual design play’s in creating it.
A creative identity built to engage with the values
of your customers can help tie your brand to a specific value set or personality.
“Brands must embrace the unique buying pathways
of their target customers, and build experiences that
align with various segments of their audience.”2
“Brands must recognize the interconnectedness of all actions and use their position to truly improve
the society they inhabit.”
“Brands must embrace the unique buying pathways
of their target customers, and build experiences that
align with various segments of their audience.”2
Black Business
Support
Glossier
Why Am I
Telling You
All Of This?
For Once,
Don’t Do It
Nike
Environmental
Activism
Patagonia
Stays
Airbnb
Evolving by
Design
Airbnb Design
Demonstrating
Humanity
1.
2.
3.
4.
Building
Genuine
Connections
Being
Responsible
& Accountable
Consistency
in Brand
Experience
With the rise of digital media, the search for brand authenticity became necessary in terms of demonstrating the values, credibility, and ethics of a brand whilst building an emotional and honest connection with its consumers.

Visual design plays an important role in helping brands communicate their identities,values and beliefs.
A brand’s visual design conveys the personality of a brand, with the tens of countless options, can set a differentitated and unique tone that aligns with the core values of a particular audience.
How can a brand’s visual design create brand authenticity in the contemporary consumer-brand relationships?

Branding Authenticity: A User’s Guide serves as a space that gathers new sources, organises thoughts, reflect on  learnings, and observe change within consumer expectations from brands today. This page will continue to grow and change as I continue to learn.

If you are reading this, I ask that you stay and read on, not so I can teach you something, just so you might be inspired to do the same- learn and raise questions on
the role of visual design in creating contemporary brand authenticity.
The age of social media has led the world to become more connected than ever which created a surface for consumers to access to instant information. This has changed the role of brands from being authorities to peers. Therefore, consumers want brands to be more human, more engaged, and more relatable than ever. They want brands to exhibit honesty, authenticity and transparency and other features that we seek in individuals. Consumers do not want to be “talked to” anymore. They want to interact, converse, buy, and follow brands that care about them.

In the age of authenticity,
consumers will only respond to personalized, transparent and humanized experiences. But within the standardization and homogenization of the marketplace, not every brand can offer the necessary distinctive experience for their consumers. So how do we get there?

Branding Authenticity: A User’s Guide will guide you through four main aspects that is relevant to consider when it comes to creating brand authenticity within the contemporary consumer expectations.
Brands have the ability to demonstrate humanity through core emotional and functional attributes. Emotional indicators provided some of the strongest drivers to consumer’s perception
that a brand was dealing with them in a human way.

Initially, when the world entered quarantine and brands needed to adapt their creative messaging in advertising, social engagement, and digital experience, many led with familiar-feeling tactics. Brands responded to coronavirus concerns with a collective “ We are here for you”, consumers responded by digging deeper into what brands were actually doing.

Many brands are no strangers to crisis management, but the global scale and continued uncertainty around COVID-19 is a first for many brands.
 With so much changing so fast during this difficult time, what actions can brands take to serve and grow their customer base, minimize risk, and take care of their people?
Today’s consumers want a more honest relationship with brands. 94% say they’re likely to be loyal2 to a brand that offers complete transparency. If you are building a brand today, regardless of the size of your company, you may want to consider standing out by being open and transparent but with a twist that positions and separates your brand from the crowd.

Some leading brands are resorting to a simple premise: let's just be honest and transparent. Brand transparency is about building a genuine, honest and authentic relationship between brands and consumers by giving them complete access to every stage of the brand journey such as; detailed insights regarding the source of materials, how the product was made, what values guided the production process and so on.
How can visual design reflect a brand’s personality?
The way that consumer interact with brands today is changing. They don’t only follow brands that delivers exceptional products and services, but also a brand that contributes to the community, becomes more transparent, and takes an active role in addressing universal issues.

Responsible brands all exhibit some type of social mission or purpose—this responsibility isn’t an "add on," but rather a value or set of values that live deep in the very DNA of the brand. Brands stepping up to be part of that resistance is important for people to believe that they have a voice.
Brand Experience encompasses most of the aspects when it comes to consumers experiencing a brand. To understand what makes a brand experience authentic, considering how the experience relates to other key branding elements like brand identity and brand voice. Creating a consistent brand identity from one touchpoint to the other makes a brand easily recognizable, building trust across channels, and connects everything to create a single brand experience.
Can design power a company’s evolution? The brands who are constantly in the cultural conversations started to place a strong emphasis on their brand experience. For example, Apple, from their retail store to their packaging, to their interface design, all the points in which we interact with the brand are curated and harmonious with the overall brand experience.
Can design power a company’s evolution? The brands who are constantly in the cultural conversations started to place a strong emphasis on their brand experience. For example, Apple, from their retail store to their packaging, to their interface design, all the points in which we interact with the brand are curated and harmonious with the overall brand experience.
“Design is in our DNA and it’s embedded in everything we do: it’s how we foster creative culture, iterate on our product, and make meaningful connections with the global community of travelers who are the heart of our brand.” 6
This part may seem like a conclusion, but you could think of this as a pause in the process where I can review my learning which is a continous process and decide where to go next. I’ve gained an awareness of brand authenticity that is an intersectional concept which casted new light on my design thinking. I’ve begun to see the learnings in my actions and my choices. This process also renewed my understanding of everything I create, the decisions I make as a designer when it comes to give a voice to a brand. This digital user’s guide, is not fully reflective of my learnings either. But it has helped me get to this point where I am able to see the concept clearer, and understand that brand authenticity, is about reflecting identity genuinely.

Finally, circling back to digital world we live in which continues to grow, and more people join the online revolution, brands are more at the eye-level than ever. Brand authenticity became necessary for companies who want to get ahead of the market competition. Authentic brands earn the long-term loyalty of their customers – even if they do make a few mistakes along the way because they’re easy to resonate with and understand. The more a brand reflects it’s true identity to its consumers the more it will stay in the cultural conversations.
1. "Marketing in the age of authenticity". monotype.com
2. "What Happens When Brand Storytelling Isn’t Built on Authenticity?". eyeondesign.aiga.org, 2020
3. "How brands can stand out amidst the digital noise". monotype.com
4. "The Role of Authenticity and Transparency in Marketing". medium.com, 2017
5. "The Value of Authenticity in Design". medium.com, 2020
Glossier is a beauty brand who want to change how the world sees beauty. Glossier has provided $500,000 in grants to the next generation of Black leaders in the beauty industry. They committed to putting  $500K in donations to organizations fighting racial injustice, and another $500K in the form of grants to Black-owned beauty businesses. They also used their communication channels to introduce these founders, their stories, and their businesses to the brand’s community.
Patagonia is a heritage outdoors brand, and is well known for their environmental production processes, their contributions to environmental causes, and their commitment to encouraging people to buy less. This effort makes us think about our responsibility to the outdoors to ensure that we keep these places safe so we can continue to have meaningful experiences in nature. And one way to do that is to support Patagonia, because the brand's actually doing things to protect the natural environment. Which led Patagonia to create a webpage that provides links for visitors to email congress with their concerns, helping to create social action around the ongoing climate issue.
In 2017, President Trump has issued issued a proclamation slashing Bears Ears National Monument by 85 percent, putting over a million acres of this ecosystem, thousands of archaeological sites, and a cultural landscape sacred to tribes at risk from extractive industries and development.5 Patagonia decided to create an educational initative website that is an interactive experience that consists 360-degree films highlight the cultural and recreational significance of the region in Southeastern Utah.
“Don’t pretend there’s not a problem in America. Don’t turn your back on racism. Don’t accept innocent lives being taken from us. Don’t make any more excuses. Don’t think this doesn’t affect you. Don’t sit back and be silent.”4

Nike’s ad comes at a time when the nation is experiencing not only a heightened racial strife, but also the global pandemic. With the politicial divison at an all-time high,
individuals are increasingly searching for familiar voices they can trust during the crisis.
Oatly is a world leader in the global sustainability movement, promoting the benefits of plantbased eating from both a nutritional and sustainability standpoint, in order to creative positive societal change. Every year, plant-based milk brand Oatly, creates a sustainability report for their consumer’s to see the brand’s succeses and failures, and what they are doing as a transparent, science-based, sustainability company.

This year the report is in a form of a website, which is an engaging scroll through page that consists their brand values, where they choose to make their products, their packaging recyclability, their overall corporate climate foot-print, their working conditions and so much more.
Until now, Oatly has done everything right, but then they did something completely opposite to their brand values which let down their consumers.
Beginning of 2020, Oatly has decided to receive an investment from Blackstone, a powerful provate equity company known for it’s role in deforestation and also headed by Trump donor Stephen Schwartman. By this unexpected decision, Oatly has encountered countless protests from many of their customers and also climate activists. Why would Oatly decide on something that doesn’t align with it’s values? Why risk to lose customers?

After receiving many critics, Oatly used their digital communication channels (website and social media) to offer their customers the backstory of their decision. “Getting a company like Blackstone to invest in us is something we have been working on to create maximum change to benefit the planet. From a sustainability perspective, we are convinced that helping shift the focus of massive capital towards sustainable approaches is potentially the single most important thing we can do for the planet in the long-term.”3

When this misalignment occurs, brands can be perceived to be engaging in inauthentic brand activism, potentially damaging brand legitimacy and authenticity perceptions and also causing consumer loss of trust.
Did Oatly’s communication strategy by being transparent took then back in being engaged in authentic conversations?
While being homebound causes stress and isolation for so many, IKEA has developed instructions for how to assemble the Billy bookcase and some of its other seminal furniture designs using gingerbread and icing instead of screws. The Gingerbread Höme assembly kits, which can be downloaded and printed out at home, resemble the company's traditional instruction manuals, including everything from the inventory to the step-by-step illustrations.
Spotify’s 2020 Wrapped is created to give the brand’s users an opportunity to look back on the year. Spotify created a personalized sum up of musics, podcasts and artists for each of their users had discovered throughout 2020. Especially for many of us, music and podcasts helped get us through these difficult times.
People will remember brands for their acts of good in a time of crisis, particularly if the actions are done with true heart and generosity.
Genuine connections require removing borders so people can experience brands authentically.
A new generation of customers expect
brands to own up to their position of power,
and do more than provide a product.
Consumers expect brands to engage
with them in a consistent way across all touchpoints. Both on- and offline.
Preface
Contemporary
Consumer
Expectations
A digital user’s guide designed for brand creators, brand strategist and marketers.

Created in order to understand the role of visual design in creating brand authenticity in the contemporary brand industry.
Demonstrating
Humanity
1.
2.
Building
Genuine
Connections
4.
Consistency
in Brand
Experience
3.
Being
Responsible
& Accountable
For Once,
Don’t Do It
Nike
Demonstrating
Humanity
Building
Genuine
Connections
Why am I
Telling You
All of This?
Being
Responsible
& Accountable
Consistency
in Brand
Experience
Gingerbread
Höme Kit
Ikea
2020
Wrapped
Spotify
Why Did
We Chose
Blackstone
Oatly
Sustainability
Report 2019
Oatly
Black Business
Support
Glossier
Environmental
Activism
Patagonia
Bears Ears
Monument
Patagonia
Airbnb.com
Airbnb
Evolving by
Design
Airbnb Design

Here are the major aspects of brand authenticity that dominates the brand industry today and the role visual design play’s in creating it.

A creative identity built to engage with the values of your customers can help tie your brand to a specific value set or personality.

“Brands must embrace the unique buying pathways of their target customers, and build experiences that
align with various segments of their audience.” 2

“Brands must embrace the unique buying pathways of their target customers, and build experiences that align with various segments of their audience.” 1

“Brands must embrace the unique buying pathways of their target customers, and build experiences that align with various segments of their audience.”

People will remember brands for their acts of good in a time of crisis, particularly if the actions are done with true heart and generosity.
Genuine connections require removing borders so people can experience brands authentically.
A new generation of customers expect brands to own up to their position of power, and do more than provide a product.
Consumers expect brands to engage with them in a consistent way across all touchpoints. Both on- and offline.

With the rise of digital media, the search for brand authenticity became necessary in terms of demonstrating the values, credibility, and ethics of
a brand whilst building an emotional and honest connection with its consumers.

Visual design plays an important role in helping brands communicate their identities,values and beliefs. A brand’s visual design conveys the personality of a brand, with the tens of countless options, can set a differentitated and unique tone that aligns with the core values of a particular audience. How can a brand’s visual design create brand authenticity in the contemporary consumer-brand relationships?

Branding Authenticity: A User’s Guide serves as a space that gathers new sources, organises thoughts, reflect on  learnings, and observe change within consumer expectations from brands today. This page will continue to grow and change as I continue to learn.

If you are reading this, I ask that you stay and read on, not so I can teach you something, just so you might be inspired to do the same- learn and raise questions on
the role of visual design in creating contemporary brand authenticity.

The age of social media has led the world to become more connected than ever which created a surface for consumers to access to instant information. This has changed the role of brands from being authorities to peers. Therefore, consumers want brands to be more human, more engaged, and more relatable than ever. They want brands to exhibit honesty, authenticity and transparency and other features that we seek in individuals. Consumers do not want to be “talked to” anymore. They want to interact, converse, buy, and follow brands that care about them.

In the age of authenticity,
consumers will only respond to personalized, transparent and humanized experiences. But within the standardization and homogenization of the marketplace, not every brand can offer the necessary distinctive experience for their consumers. So how do we get there?

Branding Authenticity: A User’s Guide will guide you through four main aspects that is relevant to consider when it comes to creating brand authenticity within the contemporary consumer expectations.

Brands have the ability to demonstrate humanity through core emotional and functional attributes. Emotional indicators provided some of the strongest drivers to consumer’s perception that a brand was dealing with them in a human way.

Initially, when the world entered quarantine and brands needed to adapt their creative messaging in advertising, social engagement, and digital experience, many led with familiar-feeling tactics. Brands responded to coronavirus concerns with a collective “ We are here for you”, consumers responded by digging deeper into what brands were actually doing.

Many brands are no strangers to crisis management, but the global scale and continued uncertainty around COVID-19 is a first for many brands.
With so much changing so fast during this difficult time, what actions can brands take to serve and grow their customer base, minimize risk, and take care of their people?

Today’s consumers want a more honest relationship with brands. 94% say they’re likely to be loyal2 to a brand that offers complete transparency. If you are building a brand today, regardless of the size of your company, you may want to consider standing out by being open and transparent but with a twist that positions and separates your brand from the crowd.

Some leading brands are resorting to a simple premise: let's just be honest and transparent. Brand transparency is about building a genuine, honest and authentic relationship between brands and consumers by giving them complete access to every stage of the brand journey such as; detailed insights regarding the source of materials, how the product was made, what values guided the production process and so on.
How can visual design reflect a brand’s personality?

The way that consumer interact with brands today is changing. They don’t only follow brands that delivers exceptional products and services, but also a brand that contributes to the community, becomes more transparent, and takes an active role in addressing universal issues.

Responsible brands all exhibit some type of social mission or purpose—this responsibility isn’t an "add on," but rather a value or set of values that live deep in the very DNA of the brand. Brands stepping up to be part of that resistance is important for people to believe that they have a voice.

Brand Experience encompasses most of the aspects when it comes to consumers experiencing a brand. To understand what makes a brand experience authentic, considering how the experience relates to other key branding elements like brand identity and brand voice. Creating a consistent brand identity from one touchpoint to the other makes a brand easily recognizable, building trust across channels, and connects everything to create a single brand experience.

Can design power a company’s evolution? The brands who are constantly in the cultural conversations started to place a strong emphasis on their brand experience. For example, Apple, from their retail store to their packaging, to their interface design, all the points in which we interact with the brand are curated and harmonious with the overall brand experience.

Can design power a company’s evolution? The brands who are constantly in the cultural conversations started to place a strong emphasis on their brand experience. For example, Apple, from their retail store to their packaging, to their interface design, all the points in which we interact with the brand are curated and harmonious with the overall brand experience.

“Design is in our DNA and it’s embedded in everything we do: it’s how we foster creative culture, iterate on our product, and make meaningful connections with the global community of travelers who are the heart of our brand.”6

Glossier is a beauty brand who want to change how the world sees beauty. Glossier has provided $500,000 in grants to the next generation of Black leaders in the beauty industry. They committed to putting  $500K in donations to organizations fighting racial injustice, and another $500K in the form of grants to Black-owned beauty businesses. They also used their communication channels to introduce these founders, their stories, and their businesses to the brand’s community.

“Don’t pretend there’s not a problem in America. Don’t turn your back on racism. Don’t accept innocent lives being taken from us. Don’t make any more excuses. Don’t think this doesn’t affect you. Don’t sit back and be silent.”4

Nike’s ad comes at a time when the nation is experiencing not only a heightened racial strife, but also the global pandemic. With the politicial divison at an all-time high, individuals are increasingly searching for familiar voices they can trust during the crisis.

This part may seem like a conclusion, but you could think of this as a pause in the process where I can review my learning which is a continous process and decide where to go next. I’ve gained an awareness of brand authenticity that is an intersectional concept which casted new light on my design thinking. I’ve begun to see the learnings in my actions and my choices. This process also renewed my understanding of everything I create, the decisions I make as a designer when it comes to give a voice to a brand. This digital user’s guide, is not fully reflective of my learnings either. But it has helped me get to this point where I am able to see the concept clearer, and understand that brand authenticity, is about reflecting identity genuinely.

Finally, circling back to digital world we live in which continues to grow, and more people join the online revolution, brands are more at the eye-level than ever. Brand authenticity became necessary for companies who want to get ahead of the market competition. Authentic brands earn the long-term loyalty of their customers – even if they do make a few mistakes along the way because they’re easy to resonate with and understand. The more a brand reflects it’s true identity to its consumers the more it will stay in the cultural conversations.

1. "Marketing in the age of authenticity". monotype.com
2. "What Happens When Brand Storytelling Isn’t Built on Authenticity?". eyeondesign.aiga.org, 2020
3. "How brands can stand out amidst the digital noise". monotype.com
4. "The Role of Authenticity and Transparency in Marketing". medium.com, 2017
5. "The Value of Authenticity in Design". medium.com, 2020

Patagonia is a heritage outdoors brand, and is well known for their environmental production processes, their contributions to environmental causes, and their commitment to encouraging people to buy less. This effort makes us think about our responsibility to the outdoors to ensure that we keep these places safe so we can continue to have meaningful experiences in nature. And one way to do that is to support Patagonia, because the brand's actually doing things to protect the natural environment. Which led Patagonia to create a webpage that provides links for visitors to email congress with their concerns, helping to create social action around the ongoing climate issue.

In 2017, President Trump has issued issued a proclamation slashing Bears Ears National Monument by 85 percent, putting over a million acres of this ecosystem, thousands of archaeological sites, and a cultural landscape sacred to tribes at risk from extractive industries and development.5 Patagonia decided to create an educational initative website that is an interactive experience that consists 360-degree films highlight the cultural and recreational significance of the region in Southeastern Utah.

Oatly is a world leader in the global sustainability movement, promoting the benefits of plantbased eating from both a nutritional and sustainability standpoint, in order to creative positive societal change. Every year, plant-based milk brand Oatly, creates a sustainability report for their consumer’s to see the brand’s succeses and failures, and what they are doing as a transparent, science-based, sustainability company.

This year the report is in a form of a website, which is an engaging scroll through page that consists their brand values, where they choose to make their products, their packaging recyclability, their overall corporate climate foot-print, their working conditions and so much more.
Until now, Oatly has done everything right, but then they did something completely opposite to their brand values which let down their consumers.

Beginning of 2020, Oatly has decided to receive an investment from Blackstone, a powerful provate equity company known for it’s role in deforestation and also headed by Trump donor Stephen Schwartman. By this unexpected decision, Oatly has encountered countless protests from many of their customers and also climate activists. Why would Oatly decide on something that doesn’t align with it’s values? Why risk to lose customers?

After receiving many critics, Oatly used their digital communication channels (website and social media) to offer their customers the backstory of their decision. “Getting a company like Blackstone to invest in us is something we have been working on to create maximum change to benefit the planet. From a sustainability perspective, we are convinced that helping shift the focus of massive capital towards sustainable approaches is potentially the single most important thing we can do for the planet in the long-term.”3

When this misalignment occurs, brands can be perceived to be engaging in inauthentic brand activism, potentially damaging brand legitimacy and authenticity perceptions and also causing consumer loss of trust.
Did Oatly’s communication strategy by being transparent took then back in being engaged in authentic conversations?

While being homebound causes stress and isolation for so many, IKEA has developed instructions for how to assemble the Billy bookcase and some of its other seminal furniture designs using gingerbread and icing instead of screws. The Gingerbread Höme assembly kits, which can be downloaded and printed out at home, resemble the company's traditional instruction manuals, including everything from the inventory to the step-by-step illustrations.

Spotify’s 2020 Wrapped is created to give the brand’s users an opportunity to look back on the year. Spotify created a personalized sum up of musics, podcasts and artists for each of their users had discovered throughout 2020. Especially for many of us, music and podcasts helped get us through these difficult times.

Preface
Comtemporary Consumer
Expectations

A digital user’s guide designed for brand creators, brand strategist and marketers.

Created in order to understand the role of visual design
in creating brand authenticity in the contemporary
brand industry.

Why am I
Telling You
All of This?
1. "Marketing in the age of authenticity". monotype.com
2. "What Happens When Brand Storytelling Isn’t Built on Authenticity?". eyeondesign.aiga.org, 2020
3. "How brands can stand out amidst the digital noise". monotype.com
4. "The Role of Authenticity and Transparency in Marketing". medium.com, 2017
5. "The Value of Authenticity in Design". medium.com, 2020
“Brands must embrace the unique buying pathways
of their target customers, and build experiences that
align with various segments of their audience.”
Consumers expect brands to engage with them in a consistent way across all touchpoints. Both on- and offline.
Brand Experience encompasses most of the aspects when it comes to consumers experiencing a brand. To understand what makes a brand experience authentic, considering how the experience relates to other key branding elements like brand identity and brand voice.
Creating a consistent brand identity from one touchpoint to the other makes a brand easily recognizable, building trust across channels, and connects everything to create a single brand experience.
Can design power a company’s evolution? The brands who are constantly in the cultural conversations started to place a strong emphasis on their brand experience. For example, Airbnb, from their guidebooks to their social media, to their interface design, all the points in which we interact with the brand are curated and harmonious with the overall brand experience.
Airbnb focuses on user generated content. They understand their audiences and invest in contextualizing the brand experience around them and therefore they embraced the new way of marketing which shifted from brand-empowered messaging to audience-empowered messaging.5
“Design is in our DNA and it’s embedded in everything we do: it’s how we foster creative culture, iterate on our product, and make meaningful connections with the global community of travelers who are the heart of our brand.” 6
Consistency
in Brand
Experience
“Brands must recognize the interconnectedness of all actions and use their position to truly improve
the society they inhabit.”
Patagonia is a heritage outdoors brand, and is well known for their environmental production processes, their contributions to environmental causes, and their commitment to encouraging people to buy less. This effort makes us think about our responsibility to the outdoors to ensure that we keep these places safe so we can continue to have meaningful experiences in nature. And one way to do that is to support Patagonia, because the brand's actually doing things to protect the natural environment. Which led Patagonia to create a webpage that provides links for visitors to email congress with their concerns, helping to create social action around the ongoing climate issue.
In 2017, President Trump has issued issued a proclamation slashing Bears Ears National Monument by 85 percent, putting over a million acres of this ecosystem, thousands of archaeological sites, and a cultural landscape sacred to tribes at risk from extractive industries and development.5  Patagonia decided to create an educational initative website that is an interactive experience that consists 360-degree films highlight the cultural and recreational significance of the region in Southeastern Utah.
Environmental
Activism
Patagonia
Bear’s Ears
Monument
Patagonia
Airbnb.com
Airbnb
For Once,
Don’t Do It
Nike
Glossier is a beauty brand who want to change how the world sees beauty. Glossier has provided $500,000 in grants to the next generation of Black leaders in the beauty industry. They committed to putting  $500K in donations to organizations fighting racial injustice, and another $500K in the form of grants to Black-owned beauty businesses. They also used their communication channels to introduce these founders, their stories, and their businesses to the brand’s community.
Black
Business
Support
Glossier
A new generation of customers expect
brands to own up to their position of power,
and do more than provide a product.
The way that consumer interact with brands today is changing. They don’t only follow brands that delivers exceptional products and services, but also a brand that contributes to the community, becomes more transparent, and takes an active role in addressing universal issues.

Responsible brands all exhibit some type of social mission or purpose—this responsibility isn’t an "add on," but rather a value or set of values that live deep in the very DNA of the brand. Brands stepping up to be part of that resistance is important for people to believe that they have a voice.
Being
Responsible
& Accountable
A creative identity built to engage with the values of your customers can help tie your brand to a specific value set or personality.
When this misalignment occurs, brands can be perceived to be engaging in inauthentic brand activism, potentially damaging brand legitimacy and authenticity perceptions and also causing consumer loss of trust. Did Oatly’s communication strategy by being transparent took then back in being engaged in authentic conversations?
Beginning of 2020, Oatly has decided to receive an investment from Blackstone, a powerful provate equity company known for it’s role in deforestation and also headed by Trump donor Stephen Schwartman. By this unexpected decision, Oatly has encountered countless protests from many of their customers and also climate activists. Why would Oatly decide on something that doesn’t align with it’s values? Why risk to lose customers?

After receiving many critics, Oatly used their digital communication channels (website and social media) to offer their customers the backstory of their decision. “Getting a company like Blackstone to invest in us is something we have been working on to create maximum change to benefit the planet. From a sustainability perspective, we are convinced that helping shift the focus of massive capital towards sustainable approaches is potentially the single most important thing we can do for the planet in the long-term.”3
Sustainability
Report 2019
Oatly
Oatly is a world leader in the global sustainability movement, promoting the benefits of plantbased eating from both a nutritional and sustainability standpoint, in order to creative positive societal change. Every year, plant-based milk brand Oatly, creates a sustainability report for their consumer’s to see the brand’s succeses and failures, and what they are doing as a transparent, science-based, sustainability company.

This year the report is in a form of a website, which is an engaging scroll through page that consists their brand values, where they choose to make their products, their packaging recyclability, their overall corporate climate foot-print, their working conditions and so much more.
Until now, Oatly has done everything right, but then they did something completely opposite to their brand values which let down their consumers.
Why Did
We Chose
Blackstone
Oatly
Genuine connections require removing borders so people can experience brands authentically.
Building
Genuine
Connections
Today’s consumers want a more honest relationship with brands. 94% say they’re likely to be loyal2 to a brand that offers complete transparency. If you are building a brand today, regardless of the size of your company, you may want to consider standing out by being open and transparent but with a twist that positions and separates your brand from the crowd.

Some leading brands are resorting to a simple premise: let's just be honest and transparent. Brand transparency is about building a genuine, honest and authentic relationship between brands and consumers by giving them complete access to every stage of the brand journey such as; detailed insights regarding the source of materials, how the product was made, what values guided the production process and so on.
How can visual design reflect a brand’s personality?
Today’s consumers recognize authenticity from the companies who show their contributions are material and not solely for commercial benefit.
While being homebound causes stress and isolation for so many, IKEA has developed instructions for how to assemble the Billy bookcase and some of its other seminal furniture designs using gingerbread and icing instead of screws. The Gingerbread Höme assembly kits, which can be downloaded and printed out at home, resemble the company's traditional instruction manuals, including everything from the inventory to the step-by-step illustrations.
Spotify’s 2020 Wrapped is created to give the brand’s users an opportunity to look back on the year. Spotify created a personalized sum up of musics, podcasts and artists for each of their users had discovered throughout 2020. Especially for many of us, music and podcasts helped get us through these difficult times.
2020
Wrapped
Spotify
Gingerbread
Höme Kit
Ikea
People will remember brands for their acts of good in a time of crisis, particularly if the actions are done with true heart and generosity.
Brands have the ability to demonstrate humanity through core emotional and functional attributes. Emotional indicators provided some of the strongest drivers to consumer’s perception
that a brand was dealing with them in a human way.

Initially, when the world entered quarantine and brands needed to adapt their creative messaging in advertising, social engagement, and digital experience, many led with familiar-feeling tactics. Brands responded to coronavirus concerns with a collective “ We are here for you”, consumers responded by digging deeper into what brands were actually doing.

Many brands are no strangers to crisis management, but the global scale and continued uncertainty around COVID-19 is a first for many brands.
With so much changing so fast during this difficult time, what actions can brands take to serve and grow their customer base, minimize risk, and take care of their people?
This part may seem like a conclusion, but you could think of this as a pause in the process where I can review my learning which is a continous process and decide where to go next. I’ve gained an awareness of brand authenticity that is an intersectional concept which casted new light on my design thinking. I’ve begun to see the learnings in my actions and my choices. This process also renewed my understanding of everything I create, the decisions I make as a designer when it comes to give a voice to a brand. This digital user’s guide, is not fully reflective of my learnings either. But it has helped me get to this point where I am able to see the concept clearer, and understand that brand authenticity is link to the idea of understanding one’s true self.

Finally, circling back to digital world we live in which continues to grow, and more people join the online revolution, brands are more at the eye-level than ever. Brand authenticity became necessary for companies who want to get ahead of the market competition. Authentic brands earn the long-term loyalty of their customers – even if they do make a few mistakes along the way because they’re easy to resonate with and understand. So, the more a brand understand it’s true identity and be able to reflect it to its consumers genuinely, the more it will stay in the cultural conversations ( perceived authentic). That means communication is the key to create brand authenticity today and as a designer who has communication at the core of what I do, I believe that visual design has an important role in creating brand authenticity today. If the expectations of consumers change, will the meaning of authenticity change as well?
Demonstrating
Humanity
Here are the major aspects of brand authenticity that dominates the brand industry today and the role visual design play’s in creating it.
Demonstrating
Humanity
1.
2.
4.
3.
Building
Genuine
Connections
Consistency
in Brand
Experience
Being
Responsible
& Accountable
With the rise of digital media, the search for brand authenticity became necessary in terms of demonstrating the values, credibility, and ethics of a brand whilst building an emotional and honest connection with its consumers.

Visual design plays an important role in helping brands communicate their identities,values and beliefs. A brand’s visual design conveys the personality of a brand, with the tens of countless options, can set a differentitated and unique tone that aligns with the core values of a particular audience. How can a brand’s visual design create brand authenticity in the contemporary consumer-brand relationships?

Branding Authenticity: A User’s Guide serves as a space that gathers new sources, organises thoughts, reflect on  learnings, and observe change within consumer expectations from brands today. This page will continue to grow and change as I continue to learn.

If you are reading this, I ask that you stay and read on, not so I can teach you something, just so you might be inspired to do the same- learn and raise questions on
the role of visual design in creating contemporary brand authenticity.
The age of social media has led the world to become more connected than ever which created a surface for consumers to access to instant information. This has changed the role of brands from being authorities to peers. Therefore, consumers want brands to be more human, more engaged, and more relatable than ever. They want brands to exhibit honesty, authenticity and transparency and other features that we seek in individuals. Consumers do not want to be “talked to” anymore. They want to interact, converse, buy, and follow brands that care about them.

In the age of authenticity,
consumers will only respond to personalized, transparent and humanized experiences. But within the standardization and homogenization of the marketplace, not every brand can offer the necessary distinctive experience for their consumers. So how do we get there?

Branding Authenticity: A User’s Guide will guide you through four main aspects that is relevant to consider when it comes to creating brand authenticity within the contemporary consumer expectations.
Preface
Contemporary
Consumer
Expectations
A digital user’s guide designed for brand creators, brand strategist and marketers.

Created in order to understand the role of visual design in creating brand authenticity in the contemporary brand industry.
Demonstrating
Humanity
1.
2.
4.
3.
Building
Genuine
Connections
Consistency
in Brand
Experience
Being
Responsible
& Accountable
Gingerbread
Höme Kit
Ikea
Bear’s Ears
Monument
Patagonia

While being homebound causes stress and isolation for so many, IKEA has developed instructions for how to assemble the Billy bookcase and some of its other seminal furniture designs using gingerbread and icing instead of screws. The Gingerbread Höme assembly kits, which can be downloaded and printed out at home, resemble the company's traditional instruction manuals, including everything from the inventory to the step-by-step illustrations.

Spotify’s 2020 Wrapped is created to give the brand’s users an opportunity to look back on the year. Spotify created a personalized sum up of musics, podcasts and artists for each of their users had discovered throughout 2020. Especially for many of us, music and podcasts helped get us through these difficult times.

2020
Wrapped
Spotify
People will remember brands for their acts of good in a time of crisis, particularly if the actions are done with true heart and generosity.
Sustainability
Report 2019
Oatly

Brands have the ability to demonstrate humanity through core emotional and functional attributes. Emotional indicators provided some of the strongest drivers to consumer’s perception that a brand was dealing with them in a human way.

Initially, when the world entered quarantine and brands needed to adapt their creative messaging in advertising, social engagement, and digital experience, many led with familiar-feeling tactics. Brands responded to coronavirus concerns with a collective “ We are here for you”, consumers responded by digging deeper into what brands were actually doing.

Many brands are no strangers to crisis management, but the global scale and continued uncertainty around COVID-19 is a first for many brands.
With so much changing so fast during this difficult time, what actions can brands take to serve and grow their customer base, minimize risk, and take care of their people?

Today’s consumers want a more honest relationship with brands. 94% say they’re likely to be loyal2 to a brand that offers complete transparency. If you are building a brand today, regardless of the size of your company, you may want to consider standing out by being open and transparent but with a twist that positions and separates your brand from the crowd.

Some leading brands are resorting to a simple premise: let's just be honest and transparent. Brand transparency is about building a genuine, honest and authentic relationship between brands and consumers by giving them complete access to every stage of the brand journey such as; detailed insights regarding the source of materials, how the product was made, what values guided the production process and so on.
How can visual design reflect a brand’s personality?

The way that consumer interact with brands today is changing. They don’t only follow brands that delivers exceptional products and services, but also a brand that contributes to the community, becomes more transparent, and takes an active role in addressing universal issues.

Responsible brands all exhibit some type of social mission or purpose — this responsibility isn’t an "add on," but rather a value or set of values that live deep in the very DNA of the brand. Brands stepping up to be part of that resistance is important for people to believe that they have a voice.

Glossier is a beauty brand who want to change how the world sees beauty. Glossier has provided $500,000 in grants to the next generation of Black leaders in the beauty industry. They committed to putting  $500K in donations to organizations fighting racial injustice, and another $500K in the form of grants to Black-owned beauty businesses. They also used their communication channels to introduce these founders, their stories, and their businesses to the brand’s community.

Patagonia is a heritage outdoors brand, and is well known for their environmental production processes, their contributions to environmental causes, and their commitment to encouraging people to buy less. This effort makes us think about our responsibility to the outdoors to ensure that we keep these places safe so we can continue to have meaningful experiences in nature. And one way to do that is to support Patagonia, because the brand's actually doing things to protect the natural environment. Which led Patagonia to create a webpage that provides links for visitors to email congress with their concerns, helping to create social action around the ongoing climate issue.

In 2017, President Trump has issued issued a proclamation slashing Bears Ears National Monument by 85 percent, putting over a million acres of this ecosystem, thousands of archaeological sites, and a cultural landscape sacred to tribes at risk from extractive industries and development.5  Patagonia decided to create an educational initative website that is an interactive experience that consists 360-degree films highlight the cultural and recreational significance of the region in Southeastern Utah.

Brand Experience encompasses most of the aspects when it comes to consumers experiencing a brand. To understand what makes a brand experience authentic, considering how the experience relates to other key branding elements like brand identity and brand voice. Creating a consistent brand identity from one touchpoint to the other makes a brand easily recognizable, building trust across channels, and connects everything to create a single brand experience.

Can design power a company’s evolution? The brands who are constantly in the cultural conversations started to place a strong emphasis on their brand experience. For example, Apple, from their retail store to their packaging, to their interface design, all the points in which we interact with the brand are curated and harmonious with the overall brand experience.

Airbnb focuses on user generated content. They understand their audiences and invest in contextualizing the brand experience around them and therefore they embraced the new way of marketing which shifted from brand-empowered messaging to audience-empowered messaging.5

“Design is in our DNA and it’s embedded in everything we do: it’s how we foster creative culture, iterate on our product, and make meaningful connections with the global community of travelers who are the heart of our brand.”6

“Don’t pretend there’s not a problem in America. Don’t turn your back on racism. Don’t accept innocent lives being taken from us. Don’t make any more excuses. Don’t think this doesn’t affect you. Don’t sit back and be silent.”4

Nike’s ad comes at a time when the nation is experiencing not only a heightened racial strife, but also the global pandemic. With the politicial divison at an all-time high,
individuals are increasingly searching for familiar voices they can trust during the crisis.

Oatly is a world leader in the global sustainability movement, promoting the benefits of plantbased eating from both a nutritional and sustainability standpoint, in order to creative positive societal change. Every year, plant-based milk brand Oatly, creates a sustainability report for their consumer’s to see the brand’s succeses and failures, and what they are doing as a transparent, science-based, sustainability company.

This year the report is in a form of a website, which is an engaging scroll through page that consists their brand values, where they choose to make their products, their packaging recyclability, their overall corporate climate foot-print, their working conditions and so much more.
Until now, Oatly has done everything right, but then they did something completely opposite to their brand values which let down their consumers.

Beginning of 2020, Oatly has decided to receive an investment from Blackstone, a powerful provate equity company known for it’s role in deforestation and also headed by Trump donor Stephen Schwartman. By this unexpected decision, Oatly has encountered countless protests from many of their customers and also climate activists. Why would Oatly decide on something that doesn’t align with it’s values? Why risk to lose customers?

After receiving many critics, Oatly used their digital communication channels (website and social media) to offer their customers the backstory of their decision. “Getting a company like Blackstone to invest in us is something we have been working on to create maximum change to benefit the planet. From a sustainability perspective, we are convinced that helping shift the focus of massive capital towards sustainable approaches is potentially the single most important thing we can do for the planet in the long-term.”3

When this misalignment occurs, brands can be perceived to be engaging in inauthentic brand activism, potentially damaging brand legitimacy and authenticity perceptions and also causing consumer loss of trust.
Did Oatly’s communication strategy by being transparent took then back in being engaged in authentic conversations?

Black-
Owned
Business
Support
Glossier
Being
Responsible
& Accountable
Why Did
We Chose
Blackstone
Oatly
Environmental
Activism
Patagonia
Why Am I
Telling You
All Of This?
Stays
Airbnb
Evolving by
Design
Airbnb Design
For Once,
Don’t Do It
Nike

1. "Marketing in the age of authenticity". monotype.com
2. "What Happens When Brand Storytelling Isn’t Built on Authenticity?". eyeondesign.aiga.org, 2020
3. "How brands can stand out amidst the digital noise". monotype.com
4. "The Role of Authenticity and Transparency in Marketing". medium.com, 2017
5. "The Value of Authenticity in Design". medium.com, 2020

Genuine connections require removing borders so people can experience brands authentically.
A new generation of customers expect brands to own up to their position of power, and do more than provide a product.
Consumers expect brands to engage with them in a consistent way across all touchpoints. Both on- and offline.
Demonstrating
Humanity
Consistency
in Brand
Experience
Building
Genuine
Connections
Here are the major aspects of brand authenticity that dominates the brand industry today and the role visual design play’s in creating it.
Today’s consumers recognize authenticity from the companies who show their contributions are material and not solely for commercial benefit.
A creative identity built to engage with the values of your customers can help tie your brand to a specific value set or personality.
“Brands must recognize the interconnectedness of all actions and use their position to truly improve
the society they inhabit.”
“Brands must embrace the unique buying pathways of their target customers, and build experiences that align with various segments of their audience.” 7

The age of social media has led the world to become more connected than ever which created a surface for consumers to access to instant information. This has changed the role of brands from being authorities to peers. Therefore, consumers want brands to be more human, more engaged, and more relatable than ever. They want brands to exhibit honesty, authenticity and transparency and other features that we seek in individuals. Consumers do not want to be “talked to” anymore. They want to interact, converse, buy, and follow brands that care about them.

In the age of authenticity,
consumers will only respond to personalized, transparent and humanized experiences. But within the standardization and homogenization of the marketplace, not every brand can offer the necessary distinctive experience for their consumers. So how do we get there?

Branding Authenticity: A User’s Guide will guide you through four main aspects that is relevant to consider when it comes to creating brand authenticity within the contemporary consumer expectations.

Contemporary
Consumer
Expectations

With the rise of digital media, the search for brand authenticity became necessary in terms of demonstrating the values, credibility, and ethics of a brand whilst building an emotional and honest connection with its consumers.

Visual design plays an important role in helping brands communicate their identities,values and beliefs. A brand’s visual design conveys the personality of a brand, with the tens of countless options, can set a differentitated and unique tone that aligns with the core values of a particular audience. How can a brand’s visual design create brand authenticity in the contemporary consumer-brand relationships?

Branding Authenticity: A User’s Guide serves as a space that gathers new sources, organises thoughts, reflect on  learnings, and observe change within consumer expectations from brands today. This page will continue to grow and change as I continue to learn.

If you are reading this, I ask that you stay and read on, not so I can teach you something, just so you might be inspired to do the same- learn and raise questions on
the role of visual design in creating contemporary brand authenticity.

This part may seem like a conclusion, but you could think of this as a pause in the process where I can review my learning which is a continous process and decide where to go next. I’ve gained an awareness of brand authenticity that is an intersectional concept which casted new light on my design thinking. I’ve begun to see the learnings in my actions and my choices. This process also renewed my understanding of everything I create, the decisions I make as a designer when it comes to give a voice to a brand. This digital user’s guide, is not fully reflective of my learnings either. But it has helped me get to this point where I am able to see the concept clearer, and understand that brand authenticity is link to the idea of understanding one’s true self.

Finally, circling back to digital world we live in which continues to grow, and more people join the online revolution, brands are more at the eye-level than ever. Brand authenticity became necessary for companies who want to get ahead of the market competition. Authentic brands earn the long-term loyalty of their customers – even if they do make a few mistakes along the way because they’re easy to resonate with and understand. So, the more a brand understand it’s true identity and be able to reflect it to its consumers genuinely, the more it will stay in the cultural conversations ( perceived authentic). That means communication is the key to create brand authenticity today and as a designer who has communication at the core of what I do, I believe that visual design has an important role in creating brand authenticity today. If the expectations of consumers change, will the meaning of authenticity change as well?

Preface

A digital user’s guide designed for brand creators, brand strategist and marketers.

Created in order to understand the role of visual design in creating brand authenticity in the contemporary brand industry.