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2022 Brand Authenticity Index

Building Authentic Connections During Unpredictable Times

4,000+

Consumers

165

Brands Across
12 Industries

6

Key Pillars of
Authenticity

AUTHENTICITY MATTERS

We’ve turned a page. Now that we are past the acute phase of the pandemic, what once seemed like a New Normal is starting to look like a Great Reset.

The past two years have reset how we engage with each other, how we live our lives and how we interact with the world around us. This global shared experience has also reset the relationship between us, as consumers, and the brands with which we engage. ​

Of course, we still find ourselves in turbulent times. Global instability, supply chain challenges, human rights abuses, climate change and a myriad of other factors make the world we live in less predictable. ​

The brands that weather the instability will be the ones that connect most deeply with consumers, in a way that transcends what was previously thought possible. The brands that thrive in the Great Reset are those who create authentic connections with the people they serve.​

77%

of consumers are willing to spend more on a brand they perceive to be authentic

The Roadmap to Becoming an Authentic Brand

The Brand Authenticity Index is a roadmap to help you create authentic connections with consumers.

Focusing on the pillars that foster authentic brands can help you delve deeper into consumers’ lives and create unbreakable connections – which are critical as you navigate an unstable world.

…what we lean into when we think about authenticity is our purpose. And our purpose is to create breakthroughs that change patients’ lives.

Miya Gray, Pfizer

2022’s Most Authentic Brands

90%

of consumers think it’s important for a brand they use to be authentic

PILLARS OF AUTHENTIC BRANDS

These are the top factors that determine a brand’s authenticity.

How Authentic Brands Feel

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Honest

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Transparent

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Consistent

What Authentic Brands Do

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Tell Their Story

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Align With My Values


Care About People Like Me

The script has been flipped so that it’s no longer brands pushing things, instead it’s brands being themselves, behaving with human behaviors in the world, having human conversations, pulling back the curtain, showing how the proverbial sausage is made. You essentially are creating your own center of gravity.

Nicole Portwood, Brand Builder

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INSIGHTS

EMPOWER THE CONSUMER

We all want to feel empowered. That’s why consumers appreciate when brands give us the information we need to make the right decisions and expand the notion of what we can accomplish.

Unlock New Opportunities: We all want more control over lives. We seek out brands like Index winner Calm (#1), which puts mental health care in our pockets; Allbirds (#10), which simplifies our day-to-day by delivering functional and fashionable products; and Fitbit (#29), which helps us make smarter health decisions by giving us real-time data about our lives

Shift the Power: We all want challenging goals be easier to accomplish. We trust brands like Rocket Mortgage (#6), which help us get into our dream homes by simplifying the overly complicated mortgage process; Coinbase (#8), which helps us build wealth by making the buying, selling, and managing of cryptocurrency accessible to anyone; and Peloton (#68), which helps get in shape by giving us an amazing workout in the comfort of our homes.


Own Who You Are

We all can sense when a brand isn’t being true to who it is. Lean into your story, tell us where you came from and who you are — whether you’re taking us back to a simpler time or changing the way we live today.

Evoke Nostalgia: Brands with a long heritage remind us of why we love them. Levi’s (#7) creates the most iconic piece of clothing in America, Converse (#25) originally blended sports and fashion, and Heinz (#45) is one of the most well-known staples in our households.

Change the Game: Brands are changing the way we experience the world. Amazon (#17) puts everything at our fingertips, Impossible (#22) is changing our eating habits while also saving the planet, and Spotify (#59) is democratizing music.


Take A Stand

Owning who you are means telling us what you believe in and taking action on those beliefs. Tell me why you do what you do, who you do it for, and how you’re making the world a better place. Even if we sometimes disagree, you’ll ultimately be rewarded for taking a stand.

57% of Gen Z and 54% of Millennials say that they would have a more favorable opinion of a brand if it took a stand on an issue that they care about.

Tell the Why Behind the What: Brands that use their influence and impact on the world make us feel hopeful. Patagonia (#2) fights to protect the public lands, USAA (#5) fights the headwinds of an unpopular industry to always do right by military families, and Veja (#46) tells us how much each employee makes and where each ingredient is sourced.

Make sure the Why Truly Impacts the What: Brands that align their influences with their actions. Whole Foods (#3) only carries products that meet a certain quality level, and CVS Health (#20) stopped selling products that don’t align with their values (and our best healthcare interests).


Meet Consumers Where They Are

While consumers are interested in what brands are saying, it’s critical to be in the places where consumers are spending their time to ensure the message is heard.

Social media posts are the most authentic way for brands to communicate with Gen Z (63%) and Millennials (62%) about their stances on issues. Gen X and Boomers, many of whom are on social media, still believe the most authentic way for a brand to communicate is via TV advertising.

Understand the mindset: Different channels evoke different emotions. Consumers on social media are often in a mindset to connect in a way they’re not when browsing the web or watching TV, so messaging tone should reflect this. Slack (#34) uses its social media accounts to give followers tips and tricks for being more efficient at work, expertly threading the needle of providing value and emotively connecting in a non-workspace. Nike (#53) uses its social channels to support causes and share inspiring pictures of athletes accomplishing amazing feats in their sport.

Where you are is who you are: The shows that brands advertise around, the parts of cities they put up billboards and the influencers they choose to endorse often drive consumer perception. Paypal (#43) recently announced it would withdraw a professional sports sponsorship because the team owner’s conduct was unacceptable and in conflict with their core values.


If you have the choice around who you engage with or who you do business with, you want to do it with people you understand and connect with. So I think building a brand narrative and creating authenticity is really about the understanding between consumers and businesses and being able to span that and understand the place it takes in consumer’s minds.

Alonzo Page, Peloton

How authentic is your brand?

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More authenticity insights

Read our latest perspectives on our authenticity findings.