This is the latest in a series of several books (notably The Experience Economy: Work is Theater and Every Business a Stage and Markets of One: Creating Customer-Unique Value through Mass Customization) in which James H. Gilmore and B. Joseph Pine focus on what Peter Drucker once identified as one of the greatest challenges any business faces: How to get and then keep profitable customers? Their thesis in this latest volume is that marketers need to address the problem of managing "the perceptions of real or fake held by the consumer's of [an] enterprise's output - because people increasingly make purchase decisions based on how real or fake they perceive offerings. These perceptions flow directly from how well any particular offering conforms to a customer's self-image."
In this volume, Gilmore and Pine examine "the authenticity of economic offerings, not the authenticity of individuals in personal relationships, something people also greatly desire but the subject of many other tomes." They cite two exemplars in particular - Disney and Starbucks - because no company "has more affected our collective view of what is real and what is not" than has Disney. As for Starbucks, no other company "more explicitly manages its perception of authenticity, making direct appeals to authenticity in every way" Gilmore and Pine define this new discipline.
Here are some of the specific issues they address with rigor and eloquence:
1. The appeal of "real"
2. The drivers of the new consumer sensibility
3. Three axioms of authenticity
4. Five genres of authenticity
5. Two "time-honored standards" of authenticity
6. Ten elements of authenticity
7. How to be what you say you are
8. How to continue to be "true to self"
9. The nature, extent, and interaction of five key "real/fake polarities"
10. How to sustain the authenticity of what is offered
Decision-makers in any organization (regardless of its size or nature) are provided a comprehensive, cohesive, and cost-effective program by which to address and resolve these and other issues. Of course, even if Gilmore and Pine were in residence, actively involved in the design and implementation of such a program, assistance, it cannot succeed unless the given offering is and remains inherently authentic, That is, it fully meets (if not exceeds) the given consumer's perceptions of the benefits claimed for it.
on 16 October 2007
"When we say a thing or an event is real," wrote Pulitzer-winning novelist Carol Shields, "we honor it. But when a thing is made up - regardless of how true and just it seems - we turn up our noses." In an increasingly manufactured world, though, how can you give customers the genuine article? That's the question James H. Gilmore and B. Joseph Pine II answer in this comprehensive, polished and entertaining analysis of authenticity. Wandering through such diverse fields as existential philosophy, architectural criticism and even relativistic physics, the authors carefully gather the ingredients of authenticity. The diverse brew they concoct, though in places turbid, is eminently drinkable. We recommend this clever and provocative exploration of authenticity that will continue to ferment in your mind and affect your strategy long after its crisp finish.