You may have noticed the extent to which organisations and brands have taken to this word ‘authentic’. I chose the word myself over the word ‘traditional’ in the positioning of my furniture venture Teer & Co.
Authentic, is a word that resonates when I browse the website of a design business I know not well called 12 Miles North. Established by two experienced people that know their way around the business of design, this is a young company that I have found myself pointing my clients towards as a great example of how to tell your story and communicate your proposition in a calm, confident and compelling way. Their purpose is clear – they talk of taking brands further and helping them find their authentic selves.
So why do we resonate with ‘authenticity’, and gravitate towards things with provenance and soul?
In its literal definition, ‘authenticity’ concerns the truthfulness of origins, attributes, commitments, sincerity, devotion, and intentions. It’s something that has depth and speaks of being trustworthy, genuine, honest and believable. It feels wholesome and exudes a certain quality. Perhaps it resonates because it’s quite an aspirational thing.
One could say that being authentic makes allowances for any imperfections, and keeps things real. Perhaps ‘authentic’ matters because in the human context it can ‘set the tone’, helping us make real connections with people.
And what can ‘authenticity’ give us?
Well getting back to 12 Miles North, which came into the world in January 2015 as a boutique consultancy run by Creative Director Nick Birch and Brand Strategist Karen Woodhead, I would say their storytelling and tone of voice gives out an impression about them that’s reassuring, that draws you in, that you’re in safe hands. What you read can make you feel you’ve found an agency that offers the potential to take your business ‘somewhere’. Somewhere exciting perhaps, somewhere significant, somewhere that should help you resonate with your audiences.
When you visit their website you could be forgiven for interpreting them as copywriters. The founders Nick and Karen declare themselves to be ‘fanatical wordsmiths’ – it shows.
12 Miles North won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. For me though, they become a Role Model design business for the way their website communicates their story in a pared down, considered, authentic way. You know they are experienced from the outset – from their tone of voice and elegant use of words that set them apart from other design agency websites. They articulate ‘why’ they exist, you get a sense of their values, what inspires them and what type of client they are most suited to working with. Their writing style helps Nick and Karen achieve a level of differentiation in a crowded market.
At times we all need to stretch ourselves and go twelve miles further. In doing so, we may just find that authentic thing in the way that 12 Miles North has and so eloquently communicates its authentic self.