Brand Authenticity – Lemonade Style

Kevin Connor


Kevin Connor


Sure, I have a sweet designer suit for wrangling with lawyers and suppliers, but when it comes to my customers, they get the real me — sunny, fresh and friendly, just like my lemonade.”

Handmade artisan products aren’t just rising, they have risen to be shoulder-to-shoulder with big mainstream brands. So much so that the big brands are doing copycat imitations of the many new upstarts. 

From foods and beverages to clothing, furniture and homegoods, “artisinal” has become synonymous with “authenticity.”  What’s this boom all about? Artisanal brands feel individual, non-corporate, friendly and unique. And they feel a bit purer and honest too. And we love them. They are earning brand loyalty by delivering exactly what they claim.

Artisan Brands. Authenticity is what its all about. 

We all crave specialty, handcrafted products, and Millennials are really craving them.  They favor brands that appear to be made by passionate owner who are transparent, and charitable to communities local and global. Millennials want an intimate connection with brands –something more than just picking products up off a shelf. They see their purchase as a nod of approval. The purchase is more personal.

The best artisinal brands have a story to tell and they all work to tell their special story.  From snapshots on coffee packaging to brazen personalities on craft beers to the oatmeal grandpa turned into a national brand, artisan is here and growing.

Millennials and Gen Z appreciate the richer experience and perceived care that goes into artisinal products. The equation is pretty simple: I believe they use better ingredients and they clearly care about recyclable packaging, therefore I am willing to pay more for the artisan product.

So, back to our lemonade stand… where our smiling, friendly junior entrepreneur is explaining how she expresses authenticity beyond just the lemonade. She stands in front of a rough wooden stand and DIY sign with fresh lemons in her arms. It says “homemade” instantly.  Her smile and friendly face have natural appeal, and that dress — her power dress — is the cherry on top of this marketing image. It’s a dress she wears for casual but “important” events. And to her, selling lemonade is important. She could have been sitting on a stool behind the counter in a t-shirt. But the dress is unexpected and says “I take my business seriously. I care about it.”  And that message comes through loud and clear. 


TAKEAWAY:   Authenticity can’t be invented. You have to be honest to your brand’s values and so do your employees. . 


You can’t fake it. You can’t copy it. If you admire a competitor, study them to discover why you admire them. In our brand audits, we routinely find that clients admire competitors who have made long term investments in design and branding.  After all, it is the most visible part of a business.


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