The Agency Authenticity Dilemma

Adam DornbuschAdam Dornbusch

CEO & Founder

August 3, 2022

Consumer perception of advertising has shifted over the past decade. With growing demand by audiences to show all shapes, ethnicities, and orientations, there is also a massive new demand for authenticity. Social Media has pushed this forward by forcing traditional and influencer marketers to proclaim what is a sponsored post. With 85% of consumers seeing influencers as inauthentic and/or unrelatable, agencies now have to search for a better way.

In this article we will share

  • Why authenticity matters
  • How agencies have lost control of their brands’ creative
  • Tips for how agencies can drive authentic and desirable creative for any brand

Authenticity Matters

The best creative agencies don’t just make the most inspirational content for their brands, they also build creative that will speak to their intended audiences. But what happens when those audiences still see that creative as a commercial? 79% of consumers say that influencer marketing either has no effect or negatively impacts their perception of a brand. On the other hand by incorporating user generated content into marketing initiatives, brands can build trust and relatability -- with 84% of consumers report being more likely to trust the brand and 77% of consumers would be more inclined to purchase their products or services. This is because user-generated content is authentic.

During my time at GoPro we produced lots of premium quality content with influencers like Shaun White and Kelly Slater. We referred to this as our “aspirational content”, but what really sold our cameras was the beautiful content shot in our customers' everyday lives. This was our “authentic content”. Whether it was watching a dog chase a stick or a kid learning to ride their bike for the first time it was the relatability that mattered.

Lost Control

After we understood that authentic content matters, we also realized that the most relatable “authentic” content we had no control over, social media. With roughly 3 billion post to Instagram per month and a majority of these posts showing one brand or another, the influence consumers have over any brand’s perception far outweighs even the largest marketing budgets. So even the best marketing agencies with full 360 marketing campaigns are fighting an uphill battle against the marketing power of the general consumer on social media. Brands have lost control of their creative.

Unfortunately, most user-generated content is not up to most brand’s standard, less than 1% of user-generated content meets the quality standards of almost any brand. This is the agency authenticity dilemma. How can an agency capture the authenticity of user-generated content and maintain the quality standards of their brands?

The Answer:

Agencies need to work with the customers to elevate the quality of their content. This is easier said than done. Managing the process of educating thousands of consumers on a brand brief is daunting but having to do it every time a new campaign is launched is overwhelming even for the best teams. By streamlining the workflows through technology we can remove most of these barriers and deliver high quality authentic content.

Key Takeaways


of consumers find influencers inauthentic and/or unrelatable

The Agency Dilemma

  • Help brands gain control of their creative
  • Capture the authenticity of UGC while maintaining quality standards
  • Manage the process of educating thousands of consumers on a brand brief
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