More and more, customers are placing a high value on "Authenticity". Maybe it's a reaction to years of being pummeled by artificial product news, but there appears to be burnout with the pursuit of "flavor of the month" marketing.

Over a hundred years ago, the H.K. McCann Company launched their ad agency with the credo "Truth Well Told". Today, we know this company as McCann-Erickson Worldwide, part of the Interpublic Group. In 1969, this agency created the "It's the Real Thing" campaign for Coca-Cola. Many marketing people feel this was the last time Coke had a meaningful brand message.

Brands that are authentic ring true with consumers. After all, a Brand is a set of promises. If those promises are real at their core and are delivered on a consistent basis, the Brand connects with the customer, and a relationship is formed.

Our Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza Brand is built on three promises- the old world art of cooking in a coal oven (ensuring a unique taste); a simple menu (do just a few things really well); high-touch service (that makes you feel like family). Not very flashy. In fact, we are really "old school". Hardly what you would expect in a world where your smart phone can do everything but make breakfast, and where Caitlyn Jenner is a national hero. But in a very competitive category with hundreds of millions of dollars of promotional spending, we have grown to 50 stores in six states.

McCann knew it 100 years ago, "Authenticity" never goes out of style!

Nicholas Castaldo, M.B.A. (Harvard), is a Lecturer in Marketing in the H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship, Nova Southeastern University. Professor Castaldo is currently the Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza. He can be reached at