Brand management and the challenge of authenticity

Michael Beverland (Department of Management, University of Melbourne, Australia)

Journal of Product & Brand Management

ISSN: 1061-0421

Publication date: 1 December 2005



The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the challenges that the widespread desire for authenticity presents for brand managers.


Provides a viewpoint essay.


Authenticity requires brand managers to downplay their overt marketing prowess and instead locate their brands within communities and sub‐cultures. Brands should become members of communities and appeal to more timeless values, while also delivering to members' needs.

Research limitations/implications

Studies of how brands develop images of authenticity are needed. Case histories drawing on multiple sources of data of brands are also needed. Research into how consumers define authenticity is required.

Practical implications

Brand managers must open up their brands to members of a community, downplay their overt marketing prowess, and appeal to the timeless values of that community. Brand managers should decouple and downplay their real business acumen in favour of appealing to social norms.


Brand management models assume that brand marketers provide brands with meaning. This view is challenged, arguing that brand meaning is derived from the day‐to‐day interactions between the brand and subcultures. The article also challenges the view that marketers should necessarily appear proficient at what they do, instead calling for marketers to downplay their role in order to be more effective.



Beverland, M. (2005), "Brand management and the challenge of authenticity", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 14 No. 7, pp. 460-461.

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Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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