30th April 2013
Authenticity in life is always aspirational. It is simply worth more.
We somehow know this intuitively. We feel best when we are not faking it; in company, we can call out a faker in under ten seconds. It is as if nature has primed us to pursue the real.
Being authentic is inherently difficult in the world of marketing because we know that brands want something from us. Like a 3am niteclub seducer, before the lights go up, we are inclined to be on our guard when they come a calling. Choose unwisely, and one can feel grubby in the morning.
I find myself highly skeptical of what marketing ‘says’ to me.
Let me pick one of my bugbears: those hotel room notices which encourage me to re-use my towels on the basis that less laundry helps the environment.
On the face of it, this seems sensible. I certainly follow the practice at home.
But, it always seems to me that, for the hotel, the environment is just a ruse. The real motivation is keeping down their own laundry costs – savings which are never passed on to the guest.
When I look around most hotels I see evidence of a lack of interest in the environment, despite their bathroom laundry notices.
I see over-packaged convenience foods, non-eco lightbulbs, food wastage and an over-dependence on air-conditioning. Their ‘save the environment’ notices seem hollow. Inauthentic.
Happily, in Helsinki, I see a move towards a truer expression of commitment to the environment.
Rather than placing the responsibility for saving the planet on me, the Hotel Klaus K shares responsibility, displaying the carbon footprint of its average room night, broken down into understandable segments. As any school teacher knows, that which gets measured gets results.
The display tells a simple and effective story, and is matched by an evident interest in the environment in the way the hotel heats, lights and nourishes its guests.
Suddenly, an authentic commitment to economy becomes a premium idea.
I am proud to note that I recycled my Finnish towels.