What does it take to be authentic?

Real is in. Fake is out. We profiled the rise of authenticity over a year ago, and how it applies to towns. Now Fast Company magazine helps answer the question of what it takes to be authentic with the following four primary elements of being real:

A sense of place – You either leverage your brand through replication (ie Starbucks) or the community (local popular coffeehouse). Only the latter is considered genuine by the locals.

A strong point of view – You’d be hard pressed to find a business owner with a greater passion for fresh ingredients (the spices are harvested as the pizza is made) than at Brooklyn’s Difara Pizzeria. That makes Difara one of a kind.

Serving a larger purposeWhite Dog Cafe in Philadelphia has a mission to serve as an inspiring example of the triple bottom line, globally as well as to its host city. It’s customers fervently agree, and that’s what makes it real.

Integrity – This can’t be underestimated. In large part, this is the ability to resist transforming a wildly successful authentic business into a regional or national chain, thereby exchanging its authenticy for mass-produced profit. The scrolling message atop Manhattan’s legendary Carnegie Deli reads, “There is only One and this is it.”

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