February 20th, 2017 - Reputation

Why we love Adele

The word ‘authentic’ just may be the most over-used word in the branding world. It’s a ruined word – ruined by people in an industry that preach plain language and then throw around big words to sound intelligent.

I’m as guilty as anyone. Authentic used to appeal to me. It sounded fresh and smart. I’ve used it far too often. But the novelty wore off as I stood in front of clients trying to explain what it meant. Good clients, down-to-earth clients, grounded clients that didn’t have time for navel gazing.

So I’ve thrown out the word authentic and I’ve adopted a better word – REAL. And now I tell my clients to ‘be real’, to be themselves and tell the real story of their lives and their journeys.

That they understand.

At last week’s Grammy’s, Adele demonstrated what it’s like to be real.

People around the world love Adele as a person as much as they love her music. So it wasn’t a surprise this week that people talked less about her talent and more about just how grounded in reality she is.

They love that Adele stood in front of the world and mid-tribute to George Michael she stopped the performance, dropped the F-bomb, and proceeded to say, “I’m sorry” over and over and over.

Adele is real. She lets us see who she is as a person – warts and all. And we love her for it. We trust her for it. We honour her for it.

In fact, in 2017, when our social media feeds are full of our friends’ flawless lives, we are craving realness and truth. We want to know that others share our struggles, our passions, our journeys.

So when Adele swears in front of millions and then gasps, I applaud. Because suddenly … I am not alone.

Being yourself is often your best advantage. But it’s hard. It’s hard because we are our own worst critics. It’s hard because our social media feeds are overflowing with perfect lives, perfect spouses, perfect kids and perfect abs.

It’s hard because being vulnerable is hard. And to be real, we have to be vulnerable.

But it’s worth it. It’s worth it because being real can help us build true and lasting relationships – whether in life or in business.

Need help articulating your truth? We can help. And we promise to not even whisper ‘authentic.’ We’ll be real.

With gratitude,

Shannon Larkins

Inspired by a little blackcoffee

Some of my favourite moments are spent in search of something beautiful while I drink my first cup of coffee and hear the house wake up. From there I move on to the paper and the news of the day. In this space, I’ll share some of those inspirations.


Shannon Larkins

Founder, Blackcoffee Studio

Over the course of 15+ years, Shannon has grown Blackcoffee Studio out of a love for building brands and reputations. She serves up Blackcoffee as a morning ritual while caffeinating clients and readers on the regular. You can find her at www.BlackcoffeeStudio.com


Blackcoffee Studio

Blackcoffee is a premium brand development agency, offering luxury brand experience to clients at home in Calgary, Canada and around the globe. Brands create experience, set you apart from the competition and drive growth. Anyone can bulid a business but only the exceptional can create a brand. Are you ready?

Shannon Larkins

Shannon Larkins

Hi I’m Shannon, founder of Blackcoffee Studio. A former reporter, spin doctor and politico, I now focus on using my powers for good.

I create mighty brands for clients and share their stories with the world. I’m also rather addicted to my nutty family, dogs with pushed in faces, Mexico and of course coffee … black.