How to Build Brand Authenticity: Jack Daniels

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How to build brand authenticity?
Jack Daniel’s case.

Malgorzata Maria Wasyleczko
Advancaed brand Management

In today’s world we can broadly observe an anti-brand discourse. People no longer think about large brands in a favourable way. While in the past the presnece of such brands were approved by the communities, now they are often blamed for a number of societal issues such as pollution, enviromental degradation, poverty, inequality, exploiting employees or overconsumption. This fact is partly caused by the traditional branding model which have failed for the sociocultural context with consumers who draw their identity (Beverland, 2009). As a result, a lot of brands are turning to such values as authenticity, sincerity and heritage. “The search of authenticity is one of the cornerstones of contemporary marketing” (Brown, 2003). The first part of the following essay focuses on the nature of authenticity and how the marketers build a brand authenticity according to Beverland’s 7 criterias. The second part presents the case of Jack Daniel’s brand and it’s way of staying authentic but current at the same time and the comparison of the theory recommendations with the Jack Daniel’s strategy and pracitces. The essay closes with a conclution part.


The term ‘authentic’ comes from a Latin word Authenticus and a Greek word Authentikos and means ‘worthy of acceptance, authoritative, trustworthy, not imaginary, false or imitation, conforming to an original’ (Cappannelli & Cappannelli 2004). This traditional view shows the important role of authorities or experts and that the authenticity was often part of the object, which was rare and unique (in the contrary to mass produced or everyday objects). According to the literature authenticity can be connected to the object, come from a relation between object and historical period/ organization form/ nature, or be given to an object by marketers and consumers (Beverland, 2005). However the term ‘authenticity’ is problematic and very often declared to be subjective. In general, we can mention two views on authenticity: objective/non-personal forms or personal/subjective forms.

Objective/non-personal forms of authenticity:
1. Objective ideals of authenticity.
Authenticity is inherent to the object: it cannot involve remakes or changes (Postrel, 2003). 2. Authenticity as purity.
A reduction in the object’s value is highly disapproved. As a result the emphasis is put on the naturalness and functionality. 3. Authenticity as tradition.
Requires conforming to original principles and traditions.
4. Authenticity as aura.
Refers to objects/persons that show signs of history. Any kind of role playing or staging are considered to be inauthentic. However the historical view ignores the role played by people in granting the authenticity to an object. Research shows that consumers are very active in building authenticity and brand meaning. And what is interesting, they often impart more authenticity to fictional objects than genuine ones (Grayson and Martinec 2004). That is why the other view on the term ‘authenticity’ suggests that it is subjective, socially constructed and given to an object by consumers, trendsetters marketers, critics and others (Beverland, 2009). Subjective forms of authenticity:

1. Authenticity as formal harmony, balance or delight.
Refers to the objects that work and give pleasure. Being true to the original is not essential. 2. Authenticity as connection to time and place.
Is really important to customers (especially for low cultural capital consumers), because it reaffirms tradition. 3. Authenticity as self-expression.
“I like it because I’m like that” (Postrel, 2003). Authenticity refers to self-identity. The brand is authentic because it reflects the personal truth. Authenticity can be true and/or created. Research shows that authenticity is often more fabricated than real. This combination...
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