The Age of Authentic Imperfection
The extreme desire for authenticity is clearly in the zeitgeist. After decades of listening to scripted, highly polished politicians tell half-truths and outright lies, voters were looking for a deeper level of authenticity from Presidential candidates in 2016.
It is interesting that despite his own tenuous relationship with the truth, Trump used social media and unscripted events to build an aura of authenticity and imperfection – winning the electoral college largely by appealing to a segment of the populace that was tired of the robotic and polished “establishment.” Clearly, Trump was able to look more human and desirable vs. the other candidates (Democrats or Republicans) via his savvy use of social media and events.
Over the last few years, brands have caught on to the zeitgeist and desire for authenticity from consumers. Rohit Bhargava calls the trend Loveable Unperfection: “where brands intentionally focus on imperfections, flaws and personality to make their products and experiences more human, believable and desirable.” Rohit cites examples from D.Efect, a brand that has specifically designed its clothing to be defective and even highlights this feature in its brand name and slogan: “The Beauty of Imperfection.” American Eagle also celebrates imperfection and consumer individuality in its TV commercial “I’mperfect,” rejecting the idea that “one size fits all.”
Just as voters rejected “traditional politicians” in 2016, consumers are growing hungrier for brands to be more authentic and human in their communication and product pipeline. Like Rohit, I believe that this “Loveable Unperfection” trend will continue to gain traction in 2017.