What Is It?

The Authenticity Gap is a methodology to help companies understand and proactively manage the gap between audiences’ expectations and actual experiences with a company or brand. The insights allow organizations to create true relationships with their audiences – authentic engagement that drives progress and opportunity.

To succeed in a world where organizations and management are under increasing scrutiny, understanding expectations is fundamental. Companies must align what they say and how they behave (the brand) with the shared perceptions of others (the reputation). The pressure to bring brand and reputation together is driving the evolution of a new model, where the intersection of brand and reputation offers executives a new, single view of their organization.


The Authenticity Gap
insights can be used to
address a spectrum of
brand and reputation
needs, including:


Differentiating for industry

Identifying strengths and
weaknesses for reputation recovery

Strategic business planning

Mission, vision values development

KPI in measurement dashboard

Building business case for additional

Government and community affairs
strategy building

Cultural integration with employees

How Is The Study Conducted?


Hundreds of brands studied across key product/service categories



Respondents rank their expectations and experience on Nine Drivers of Authenticity

Our research is framed against the Nine Drivers of Authenticity – those attributes that most shape audiences’ perceptions and beliefs about a company. The drivers are tracked over time to monitor the organization’s current authenticity and momentum against key competitors.

Together, these Nine Drivers provide a map to the agendas of today’s stakeholders and how they engage with a company.

The Nine Drivers fall into three interconnected groups: Management Behaviors, Customer Benefi ts and Society Outcomes, with each group made up of three individual drivers. In the past a company could choose to target diff erent groups on specifi c issues – stockholders with messages on performance or NGOs with messages about community. Today companies must tell a holistic story that includes inter-related facets of their business across all three categories of drivers.


Expectations and experiences are mapped and used to inform a company’s momentum against competitors

Rather than a list of rankings like so many other research studies, our study gives communications and marketing executives actionable data they can use to shape their brands and business initiatives – thus addressing the Authenticity Gap.