Creative leaders on… authenticity

Has authenticity become little more than an industry buzzword, or does it offer an opportunity for creative work to make genuine connections with people?

Authenticity has become a popular buzzword in the creative industries. Its ubiquity is such that the word is beginning to lose its meaning. Maybe this is down to the nebulous definition authenticity has assumed under the control of advertisers and marketers, or maybe it’s a symptom of brands under pressure to be real, but unwilling to fully commit to the cause.

What is clear is that there’s a wave of consumers expecting total authenticity from the companies and individuals they engage with, and who have a keen nose for when they’re being deceived.

To uncover exactly what authenticity really means and why it’s important to people, we spoke with designer Ben Terrett, former director of design at the Government Digital Service and Group Design Director at the Co-op, as well as Chaka Sobhani, Chief Creative Officer at Leo Burnett. Filmmaker Jeanie Finlay – whose recent documentary Seahorse follows the story of a trans man having a baby – also shares her thoughts on the subject, and what means in the context of film and documentary.