Fast Company has a nice article outlining why authenticity is the benchmark to judge brands. It calls out several brands for their shortcomings, including the clichés (Chevy Silverado), the fakes (Cold Stone Creamery), and the Johnny-Come-Latelies (Levi's).
So what do you need to be authentic? Here's a quick run down from the article:
A Sense of Place - And that place can be imaginary. Häagen-Dazs may sound like ice cream that is made by Vikings, but it's not. It's from the Bronx.
A Strong Point of View - This can also translate into passion for your work. Think Martha Stewart and her products.
Serving a Larger Purpose - Google's mantra, which is "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful," is a good example of this.
Integrity - It's actually bad for business if your slogan contradicts your company's image. Imagine that. Look at McDonald's. Its slogan, "We like to see you smile," seems laughable when you consider how many grumpy clerks you might have encountered there.
Here's a link to the whole story.