Authentic brands have a kind of magic about them that help them to successfully persist within a commercialized market. While conspicuous brands continue to suffer, authentic brands captivate consumers and make them loyal- some paying homage to their favorite brands in unique ways. On one episode of “LA Ink” tattoo artist Nikko Hurtado tattooed an image of Steve Jobs on a devoted fan.

The ways that followers represent their favorite brands can know no bounds, like the strategies used by brands to attract these loyal customers. In one of the simplest yet oxymoronic ways, authentic brands deny any motives in branding or marketing at all and found great success in doing this. Unlike modern marketers who congest market spaces with commercialization, authentic brands focus on offering great services and products while solving real issues.

A company that had built its brand on authenticity is Patagonia. In Yvon Chouinard’s memoir about being the founder and owner of Patagonia, he writes:

“Patagonia’s image is a human voice. It expresses the joy of people who love the world, who are passionate about their beliefs, and who want to influence the future. It is not processed; it won’t compromise its humanity. This means that it will offend, and it will inspire” (149).

Photo by Kayleigh.

Patagonia chooses to control its consumer perception through actions they take and the products they sell, stripping their marketing strategy nearly to the bone. They opt out from distracting advertisements in search of a deeper experience that doesn’t just capture a consumers undivided attention, but holds it. One component to Patagonia’s image philosophy is strong copy. “Since we’ve always been different, it’s been even more important that we tell our own story clearly” (154) Chouinard writes. In creative ways, the copy has started conversations about the environment, the outdoor experience, and the clothes. The human voice as Patagonia’s image was so successful that society became co-authors of the company, writing in about their experiences in a segment called, “Capture a Patagoniac”.

Because we exist within an era where everything is marketable, it has produced a disinterest in conventional advertisements and marketing strategies. From an authentic marketing standpoint, it’s not about exploiting your products or services, it’s about learning new ways to capture your audience to leave them interested and engaged. When conventional brands begin to tell a sideways story about where they came from, authentic brands offer a gesture of reinvention about how they made their way into new lands.


Chouinard, Yvon. Let My People Go Surfing: the Education of a Reluctant Businessman: Including 10 More Years of Business Unusual. Penguin Books, 2016.

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  1. And funny because when you mentioned Patagonia, I had an instantly positive reaction, thinking vaguely about stuff I had heard about their investments in the environment and ethically made clothing. I don’t even know much about it, but it’s amazing how that positive association flooded me immediately when you mentioned them, and I tend to be pretty skeptical about stuff like this. I am really learning a lot about branding from you, and thinking about how compatibility between mission and brand is ultimately what works for consumers…

  2. Its true what you say about large name brands having almost a “magical” way about them. Even walking through outlet stores Christmas shopping over the weekend, the logo is what is making these products sell, nothing more. How do we even begin to fathom the power of a picture forcing us to buy a product?
    I think it comes down to what you said about how large name brands already have the money name, so they are more focused on helping the world become a better place. We see successful companies like TOMS shoes launch their business by expressing how important it is to help those in need, and later we see that TOMS is a very successful company.
    Maybe new business owners should see what happens if they bite the bullet and start implementing a business plan towards helping others in this world. There is a large portion of our planet who want to see this world become a better place one step at a time.

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