Posted By: Trevor Turner

We all covet authenticity, yet many of us claim authenticity without always embodying it truthfully. Achieving 100% authenticity is often hindered by societal expectations and situational demands. For instance, attending a job interview in a bathing suit or joining a professional Zoom call shirtless would be widely deemed inappropriate, regardless of personal authenticity.

Operating with common sense and honesty is paramount in navigating authenticity and safeguarding your brand. However, it appears that common sense is a rarity in 2024.

Authenticity in Public Relations

The recent PR saga surrounding self-help guru Jay Shetty and the article by The Guardian is a prime example of what can happen when a carefully cultivated brand image doesn’t align with authenticity and the truth. The article raises questions about the origins of Shetty’s story, his credentials, and just how “authentic” his journey and advice really is.

The article triggered a PR crisis for Shetty’s multi-million dollar brand that was built on positioning himself as a transparent and honest guide. I started to sniff out his lack of authenticity when Shetty pivoted into celebrity culture, only interviewing and helping celebrities.

When a brand relies heavily on personal authenticity and truth-telling, any perception of inauthenticity can be devastating, especially if the brand is centered around helping people improve their lives.

Key Lessons

The key lesson for businesses is this: Authenticity should be the foundation of your brand and messaging. Don’t exaggerate or misrepresent your company’s story, products, or practices.

Your brand’s authentic narrative is one of its most valuable assets.

To give you a personal example, I’ve been a brain injury Survivor for over 20 years now, and early on following my brain injury, I used to try and hide it from others. I don’t have full feeling of my left side, and I have double vision. I used to think that this disability was the only thing that people saw when they looked at me. But now, knowing how impactful my story has been in my life and the lives of others, I’ve learned to embrace it, and I’m more prone to share my story with others.

I’ve discovered that sharing my personal story is a powerful means of connecting with individuals who may have a friend or family member affected by a brain injury, offering support when needed.

The lesson I’ve learned from my experience is the significant impact of sharing my authentic story. This is a principle that brands and companies can leverage in times of shortcomings or PR crises. Acknowledging the issue, sharing insights gained from the experience, and outlining plans for improvement are essential steps towards growth and positive change.

While I can’t fix the fact that I had a brain injury, I can apply the lessons that I’ve learned from the adversity that I faced and use them for future successes in life and helping others who may be experiencing something similar.

Taking ownership of your past and missteps is fundamental in crisis management. Yet, Jay Shetty’s failure to address the allegations against him underscores the importance of transparency and integrity in maintaining public trust.

In conclusion, authenticity isn’t just a buzzword; it’s the cornerstone of personal integrity and brand credibility. Embrace your truth, learn from challenges, and remain committed to honesty and transparency.