Users Like It Raw. Authentic Content Wins.

Last week a great piece in the The AtlanticThe Instagram Aesthetic Is Over – detailed the trend of organic, real imagery making a comeback and being more relevant than ever before. Especially for influencers who are now opting for on-the-fly content rather than overly produced, fancy filter pics. The insta-pros are experiencing better engagement and growth with raw and real.

The reality is real and authentic content never went away. 8 years ago I presented at conferences about real-world authentic shots in fashion were outperforming studio shoots. Then our team a year later was a USA Twitter Trending Topic for 20+ consecutive weeks (a record) with a campaign using original, authentic content.


Where brands and influencers fall short is thinking that audiences only want authentic content. People want to be entertained, informed and persuaded. Doing this effectively – aka consistently over time - requires a variety of content types – studio, raw, user-generated (UGC), original animation and video. Aspirational, fun, intriguing, emotive “produced” content STILL WORKS! Look at the top fashion brands, consumer tech, gaming.


Above all, the quality of the creative is what matters most – sure aesthetic matters, but it’s far from everything. Produce assets that have VALUE. When you give to the community, it’s remarkable what the community is capable of giving in return. Do the best you can with the resources available and continuously improve.

Joseph Nolan is the founder of JONO MKT, a digital marketing and strategy agency. He’s pioneered digital and social transformations at several billion-dollar brands and is an alumnus of the renowned MA Strategic Public Relations program at USC Annenberg.