Brand transparency and the art of telling the truth

Steve Harvey
Jul 24, 2018 · 5 min read

Today’s customers are more informed, empowered, and engaged than ever.

The people who buy from your brand are no longer content with sitting around and allowing television advertisements to influence their decisions. Instead, your clients are actively researching your company, and choosing to connect with the organisations they resonate with.

Last year, ad blocker usage increased by 30% worldwide, despite the best efforts of social media giants and search engines. If you want to win #CustomerLoyalty, then you need to be willing to demonstrate the time, effort, and honesty that go into developing genuine trust.

Today, more than half of all consumers seek out additional information when choosing a brand, and 73% will happily spend more on a product that shows complete transparency. What’s more, 70% of your customers will actively look for insights into your company before they choose to buy from you.

The research speaks for itself. If you want to get ahead in this competitive business environment, then you need to start by becoming more transparent.

Transparency in the age of information

The digital world is brimming with opportunities and challenges for the average company. While social media and online forums make it easier to communicate with your target audience, they also mean that people are constantly sharing their opinions about your products, services, or values.

A brand transparency strategy is your opportunity to get ahead of the conversation and give people the information they crave before they start making assumptions or believing rumours. In a time where we no longer tolerate secrecy, #BrandTransparency can alleviate some of the suspicion people feel towards new brands.

So, how can you be more transparent?

1. Offer insights into pricing and production

One of the easiest ways to be more “honest” with your customers, is to share information about your supply chain. “Price” and “Product” are two crucial elements in the marketing mix, and they can both be very useful when it comes to convincing your clients that they should buy from you instead of your competitors.

If you can show your consumers where your products come from, and why they’re paying a certain price for them, then you can overcome some of the concerns that might cause friction within the buying funnel.

2. Take advantage of video

Brand transparency is a long-term strategy, like content marketing or SEO. The more frequently you demonstrate your honesty and authenticity to your customers, the more they’ll come to think of you as a company they can trust. Video is a great way to share content that feels more naturally “transparent”.

For the best results, try taking advantage of the astronomical success of live video. Broadcasting raw content straight on your social media feed allows you to provide the most organic insights into your business. For instance, you could try giving customers a look at your production line or introducing them to your staff at a random weekly meeting.

3. Refine messaging and design

Finally, remember that transparency needs to go right down to the heart of your business if you want it to make a lasting impact on your customers. For instance, think about the images you currently use in your branding materials, and on your company website. If you’re still utilising stock photos to save money, then this could be destroying your “honest” image. Switch to professional branded photography and graphics instead!

What’s more, once you’ve got a good idea of what #BrandHonesty looks like for your company, make sure that you maintain consistency in everything you do. It’s much harder to believe in a business if their messaging constantly changes from one platform to another.

3 steps to better brand transparency and trust

Trust between a company and its customers isn’t something that develops spontaneously overnight. If you want to earn the respect of your target audience, then you need to consistently prove that they can trust you with authentic content, a consistent identity, and a strong sense of ethics.

The good news is that if you learn how to showcase transparency successfully, the result can be better brand loyalty and bigger sales in the long-term. Here are just 3 steps to get you started:

Step 1: Hold yourself accountable

If you want to build a transparent brand, then you need to understand that your brand purpose, values, and vision are all part of the promise that you make to your customers when you start selling products or services. Before you begin to define yourself through content marketing and ad campaigns, think carefully about the expectations you’re setting for your brand, and how you can hold yourself accountable to them.

Step 2: Be realistic

Remember, although it’s tempting to only share “positive” messages about your brand and sweep anything negative under the rug, customers know that no company is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes at times and owning up to your errors will help you to seem more human. However, if you want to avoid generating the wrong reputation, remember to be realistic with your aims, and don’t make promises you can’t keep.

Step 3: Show your human side

Finally, remember that #HonestBrands are successful because they show their human side. They don’t try to convince their audience that they’re some all-knowing entity that never makes a mistake. Instead, they grow and evolve just like a person. Showing your human side in everything you do, from your marketing materials to your product creation processes will make it easier for people to resonate with your company.

It’s time to go transparent

As nerve-wracking as it can be to be completely honest with your clients, it’s far more dangerous to try and keep your followers in the dark.

After all, in an age where information is everywhere, you can either give your consumers the information they crave about your company or else risk them coming up with their own assumptions.

Relationships are built on the things we know about other people. While the odd negative review or publicised mistake could lose you points on your reputation from time to time, the benefits that come with having a “transparent” brand are far greater than you might think.

To learn more, check out our complete guide to brand transparency, or reach out to us for help crafting your very own transparency checklist.

Earning #CustomerTrust doesn’t have to be a challenge, all it takes is a commitment to being honest.

Steve Harvey

Written by

Co-owner of creative agency Fabrik Brands, London.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade