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Over the last couple of years we’ve seen a resurgence of brands playing on provenance – and with the latest campaigns from BA and John Lewis it doesn’t look like the trend is going anywhere soon. But, why are brands currently so eager to play on their provenance? Certainly specific brand/business challenges are often a reason. For example, the new BA campaign is clearly in part an attempt to build trust (both within and outside the airline) following a period of well-publicised and bitter industrial action. However, there is a wider context. Indeed, provenance has become increasingly important in various facets of life. People are more eager than ever to know the when, the where and the who behind the things they buy into and brands/people/causes they support.
This growing desire for the details of origin has, to a great extent, arisen because the information is increasingly easy to provide. In today’s world origin can be readily proven, interrogated and disputed. We live in a transparent world – we go online more and gain access to vast banks of information. We ‘Google it’, ‘Wikipedia it’, we click the link to check the source. Put simply, as provenance has become easier to substantiate and call into question, the need to prove provenance has become greater.
Furthermore, this increased level of transparency comes at a time when our societal consciousness has called into question the excesses of past years. Today, hundreds of people remain camped outside St. Paul’s proclaiming ‘Capitalism is Crisis’. We are collectively assessing our attitudes to life and to the world – as a result, ‘meaning’ and authenticity become ever more relevant.
It is in this context we have seen more and more brands playing upon their roots, working to establish they’re from a clear ‘somewhere’, a ‘somewhere’ in both time and place. These efforts all work to create the meaning and authenticity we crave, and ultimately result in greater trust and stronger relationships.