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Brand New Authenticity

I love how old film ages through the years so that photographs of my parents are slightly aged and discolored, giving an almost physical dimension to the passage of time. I’m clearly not alone here, because a number of programs have sprung up for smartphones that allow people to make their pictures look older than they are. For example, this lovely photo of a Christmas tree might look like it was taken in the ‘70s …

… but it was actually 2010. And yet somehow it looks cozier than it would if I hadn’t applied the “Instagram” filter. Of course, blending new and old, I could send this vintage-y looking photo directly to Facebook.

The evolution of this idea, I suppose, is taking photos that were *actually* taken years ago and updating them to reflect what the person looks like now. I came across an amazing collection of photos from a photographer named Irina Werning who has done just that – here’s one example:

Yikes, that photographer put an awful lot of effort into making her “new” photos look exactly like the older versions.

This reminds me of brands that say things like “Established 1889” or “Beloved since 1962” or similar techniques to establish their longevity. I suppose this is because it conveys a sense of trust, or makes the case that generations of people have enjoyed this brand’s products “so you would too.” However, I also notice the opposite trend in hip-hop music (ever notice how many rappers have “Young” or “Lil” in their name?) and in some Asian brands (in Japan, I saw shirts that proudly declared that the company was brand new as of that year). So being old and established gives your brand authenticity and trust, but conversely being new and young is associated with fresh ideas and energy? I suppose there is room for both approaches in the land of marketing. And maybe they can merge, just as my brand new pictures taken with my brand new iPhone can be made to look like they were taken 100 years ago.

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