Politicians - love them or hate them, they are everywhere at the moment. Australia is gearing up for an election, so for at least a little while we can look forward to having a prime minister that the people have actually voted in. Australia still maintains its mandatory voting laws, so that everyone over the age of 18 must turn up at their local voting station and fill out a ballot form, casting their vote into the box before duly lining up for a barbecued sausage afterwards...your reward for being a good citizen, although you have to pay for your prize.
Unfortunately, there will be a lot of people turning up to vote without strong opinions, knowledge or frankly, care factor as to who they are putting their vote towards. Our politicians are using their time on the airwaves over the next two weeks to try to convince anyone who’ll listen, to care about them. And it’s all so very smarmy. You hear false promises, outright lies and such skilful dodging of questions that we could populate all worldwide dodgeball teams with ease. It’s pretty hard to sift the quartz from the mud.
The issue is authenticity, and it is significant, as it relates not only to politics, but everyday life and business too. Who can you trust in this highly individualistic society? Or on the flip side, can you thrive in this world whilst maintaining your own moral code and being true to yourself in your public presentation? Or is authenticity actually the first nail in the coffin for small businesses?
You wouldn’t be blamed for debating whether a for profit company can ever be truly authentic. Capitalism does best when everything boils down to the dollars and cents, at any other cost. This is particularly true in the world of eco-tourism, with many savvy business owners sensing a ‘popular trend’ that they can leverage to their economic advantage. In the current climate of eco-friendly buzz words, it’s almost impossible to sort fact from fiction in terms of eco-claims.
There is a silver lining. It’s possible, if not probable, that the more virtual our lives get, the more people really want something that is not just a product or a service, but an experience. An experience that is honest and real …authentic. If this is true then businesses are going to have to keep up with growing consumer authority and give people what they want if they want to survive. If only we could get this message through to our politicians too!