Authenticity is the new black: why realism is your most powerful marketing tool

For years we’ve been carefully curating our social feeds, spending hours on colour hues, editing photos and crafting perfect sentences, but according to industry experts, those days are numbered.

Authenticity is the new black

Have you noticed a slight change in the way people are using social media lately? Well, you’re not the only one. The 'perfection aesthetic' on Instagram as we know it appears to be on its way out, as people gravitate toward 'hyper realism' in a bid to be more ‘authentic’ or ‘real’ online.  

Turns out, it's a thing, and it's the younger folk who are driving this movement; the generation below millennials... (yes, we know!). This age group are rejecting the notion of a curated feed en masse, in favour of a messier and unfiltered aesthetic by showcasing raw, real and unfiltered content.  

This isn't surprising to us, given that authenticity has been more than just a buzzword for the last few years now.

It seems we've finally seen enough rainbow toasts, we’re at our wits end with those pink peonies, we've had it up to our eyeballs with 'candid beach (body) shots' and we're now *actively unfollowing* the sexy selfie takers.

It's not necessary to have a perfectly curated and filtered feed, and it seems that people are starting to take the pressure off and move back toward what’s real.

We should be celebrating imperfection, uniqueness and the day-to-day realities of our lives. There’s nothing wrong with posting content that isn’t curated or perfectly edited (even if our OCD wants it to be). It’s important that your content has a professional quality to it, but perfection is a myth.

People connect with people - and people want to feel like they’re not alone. We create genuine connections by showing our reality as it is. People are tired of pretences, and they can sense inauthenticity from a mile away when scrolling the ‘Gram.   

Matt Klein, cultural strategist at Sparks & Honey says it perfectly: 

“We all know the jig is up. We’ve all participated in those staged photos. We all know the stress and anxiety it takes. And we can see through it. Culture is a pendulum, and the pendulum is swaying. That’s not to say everyone is going to stop posting perfect photos. But the energy is shifting.”  

We're certainly feeling the shift, and happy as hell about it. It's time we all took the pressure off ourselves (and everyone else) to be perfect and focus more on what’s truly important to our audience… it’s time we connect more and worry less about how it all ‘looks’.

We can’t wait to see more realism on our feeds, so here’s to continuing the movement where we forget about perfect and return to what’s real.

Written by Sarah Avrimidis for Wildbrand.