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Authenticity

In his FastTalk interview in the Sept. 2006 issue of FC, Diego Scotti, VP of Global Advertising for American Express, says, “Authenticity is the thing consumers respond to the most.” Amen! For the past three years, Joe Pine and I have been working on our next book, focused on this very subject, namely authenticity as a new consumer sensibility. (We resubmitted our post- peer review manuscript to our editor three weeks ago.)

In the Agrarian Economy, the dominant purchase criteria was Availability (price being set by supply-and-demand, and only influencing the quantity of materials purchased in the marketplace). In the Industrial Economy, Cost became the dominant driver of purchases as Mass Production made more and more goods affordable to the masses. In the Service Economy, Quality come to dominate, with the performance of offerings became most important as consumers increasingly rely upon others to perform certain activities on their behalf. And now, in the Experience Economy, in an increasingly unreal world of staged places and mediated events, consumers want Authenticity. Thus AMEX desires to “be associated with people of substance, whose success is based on real achievement” and entices celebrities with the opportunity to craft their life-stories (as a commercial) and not just monetary compensation. (Indeed, selling out for the big bucks is not “being real”.)

I don’t want to turn this entry into an outline of our forthcoming book, but would be willing to respond to any comments on the subject that this entry prompts.

JG