Dear Brands, Get Naked.
(Reading time: approx. 5 minutes)
Brands that aren’t afraid of being naked get noticed
Turns out consumers want transparency. Brand transparency can be a scary thing and consumers are demanding transparency now more than ever before. Brands, so often placed on a pedestal, are now being placed glass box for the whole world to see. Customers are the ones who have the overpowering voice. People like to associate themselves with the products they buy; therefore, associating themselves with that company’s standards. Consumers want your brand to be see-through because being see-through leads to trust. Nowadays, consumers have the ability to see whatever information they want, whenever they want it. And if you think they might not be able to find it…they will.
Brands embracing their own flaws
We aren’t saying that brands should spill their guts and share every bit of information, however, there is a way to find the golden balance between giving just enough information to stir up emotional responses from consumers and hiding behind a corporate mask. Many brands are implementing transparency initiatives to help consumers better understand all the measures taken to produce their products or services. Recently, Johnson and Johnson launched a transparency website for their baby and beauty products. Their VP acknowledges that “there’s a public discussion underway about the ingredients in beauty care products, and we think it’s important to be part of that”.
You may believe that highlighting all the positive things about a brand will win consumers love but it turns out consumers also love it when brands show their true colors. There was a recent report released called “Flawsome” about why brands that behave more humanly including showing their flaws are more awesome. The report places huge emphasis on the fact that consumers embrace brands flaws and ones that show character. We are all human and we all make mistakes. Domino’s Pizza made a few mistakes and produced a month long promo campaign responding to customer feedback. Don’t be afraid to buck up and admit when you’ve done something wrong.
You can run but you can’t hide
It boils down to the fact that either you make the shift to becoming a more open and honest brand or there are apps and services that will do it for you. For example, Good Guide rates brands on their supply chains, environmental commitments, and work conditions. A brand that is succeeding in terms of transparency is Patagonia. They provide information to encourage consumers to care for their clothes in a resource efficient matter, and they also encourage their shoppers to buy less. What a concept.
Be a part of the consumer discussion
The more information at hand, the more a purchase decision can be influenced. Get involved in that purchase decision. Give loads of product information. Give loads of information about how you made that product, where you sourced the materials, and where it was manufactured to avoid situations like this. Give them what they want, they are going to find it regardless. It doesn’t hurt to be relatable and give your brand a personality.
Social, social and a bit more social
Now this may be beating a dead horse but we are still going to say it one more time just to really drill it home: Consumers are social. They share, they read, they absorb info and regurgitate it to their peers. Word of mouth now travels at the speed of light. The consumer holds the megaphone and can connect to others on a massive scale. Withholding information or providing consumers with deceiving information can be disastrous. Better to embrace that glass box you are sitting in. Be open. Be honest. Then let your consumers share your story.
How to take action
These four steps outlined by author Gabe Trionfi gives brands a simple and effective way to connect with consumers through relevant and purposeful transparency.
1. Pinpoint relevance. Listening to your customers will ensure that you know the right “what” and “why” to share with them.
2. Promise what you can deliver. Design what transparency means for your business and deliver it to your consumer consistently.
3. Engender action. Information can only do so much. Encourage your consumer to do something with it. How will you support consumers taking action?
4. Start with small steps. Regardless of what you do, remember to do something. Even a little transparency can have a huge influence on the people you want to connect with.
The bottom line: Brands can’t hide behind walls anymore. Consumers demand transparency to make informed decisions. The more information available to a consumer the more they are aware of the value the brand has on issues they care about. Remember, shared values build relationships.
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