Perhaps the only truly authentic version of you is just a few days old, lying in a crib, pooping in your pants.
Ever since then, there's been a cultural overlay, a series of choices, strategies from you and others about what it takes to succeed in this world (in your world).
And so it's all invented.
When you tell me that it would be authentic for you to do x, y or z, my first reaction is that nothing you do is truly authentic, it's all part of a long-term strategy for how you'll make an impact in the world.
I'll grant you that it's essential to be consistent, that people can tell when you shift your story and your work in response to whatever is happening around you, and particularly when you say whatever you need to say to get through the next cycle. But consistency is easier to talk about and measure than authenticity is.
The question, then, is what's the impact you seek to make, what are the changes you are working for? And how can you achieve that and still do work you're proud of?
The best way to change long-term behavior is with short-term feedback.
The opposite is not true. We rarely change short-term behavior with long-term feedback.
That's why sanctions rarely work well in international politics, and why cigarette taxes are the best way to keep people from getting lung cancer.
Sure, intelligent adults should be smart enough to figure out the net present value of a lifetime of cigarette purchases, plus the long-term health costs. And some are. But not enough.
And students should be smart enough to realize that extra effort and expense in college might pay off in income or happiness in a few decades. And some are. But not enough.
If you want to reward (or punish) short-term behavior, don't do it down the road. Advances turn more heads than royalty streams do.
One reason organizations slow and stumble is that teams of well-meaning people form committees and go to meetings, determined to please the boss.
What they do, instead, is assume that the boss is far more conservative than she actually is. They buff off the edges, dilute the goodness and quench their curiosity. They churn out another version of what's already there, because they're imagining the most risk-averse version of their boss is in the room with them.
It's the boss's job to continually ask, "is this the most daring vision of your work?"
The original reason for brands was to let the buyer know the source of the goods. "We made this," says the organization we trust when we buy something.
Over time, though, brands have evolved into something we want other people to see, not just us. "I bought this," says the person who wears or drinks or drives something with status.
The essence of a brand with social juice, of one that matters as a label, isn't how big the logo is. No, what matters is that the buyer thinks the brand is important, and that the logo is a signifier that they're paying for.
So no one complains that the logo on the wine bottle is not in tiny 18 point type, or that the BMW convertible has 8 or 9 or 14 logos on it, or that we can tell it's a Harley just from the sound it makes driving down the street.
If you are angling to make your logo bigger but your customers don't care (or resist), if your customers aren't eager to say, "I bought this," then you're doing the wrong angling. The work that needs to be done is to create a product and a story that makes your customers want you to make the logo more prominent.