The marketing and advertisements of a product were the part where creativity was overloaded to get attention for the product among the public. With the passage of time, the advertisements became a bundle of exaggerated lies and false hopes to consumers. By repeating the same lies for thousand times the companies and brands have tricked people into believing them as true.
At present, things have changed because today people have access to the source to find the truth behind all these traditional marketing techniques to some extent. Today everything has turned ‘Digital’, so is the marketing, each advertisement we see on the internet is an example of digital marketing and even its click rate is important for the company. Today, As per the customer’s viewpoint, what makes the brand trustworthy is — ‘Transparency’.
Transparency can be defined as a practice that the company does to share genuine information to the public, about their brand, products, services, staff, etc., almost everything that has value to customers.
Transparency doesn’t mean to portray only the good side of the company, it should also include the vulnerable side, more precisely — the truth. But that doesn’t mean that companies should expose their business strategies or very crucial business information, they have all the legal rights to maintain the company and their staff’s privacy.
What Caused the Emergence of Transparency in Marketing?
Unlike the older generations, people nowadays are very much conscious about what they consume and what they can do to protect the environment. The major reasons for this realization is none other than an increasing number of health-related issues like cancer, global warming caused by pollution, ozone layer depletion etc. You may be thinking what this has to do with marketing and transparency in marketing?
It does! The root cause of these problems is the products we use and dispose of in the environment. So people started questioning the authenticity of each and everything they use, how safe it is and how much impact it has on our environment. You must have noticed that the awareness about cancer caused by smoking (including the statutory warning on the packets) all emerged in recent decades only. In the past, actors used to promote smoking and cigarette brands, today these same actors promote campaigns and advertisements to quit smoking. Think about the cigarette manufacturing companies that faced a market shift because the customers started to think in other directions.
The same goes with environmental issues. The government has implemented many rules to reduce pollution, even banned plastic bags. Adulteration in the food sector is also one of the major factors that caused people to rely on the transparency of food brands. It costs around $30 to $40 billion annually in food frauds worldwide, which gave rise to organic food products and encouraged some companies into using traceability platforms to prove that their products are genuine. All these things affect companies that produce them and also makes people think before buying a product, especially while buying food.
Why Do We Need Transparency?
According to a study conducted by Label Insights, out of 2000 customers, about 94% are likely to be loyal to a brand that offers complete transparency, about 56% people would stay loyal to a brand for a lifetime if the brands are completely transparent and 73% of people would pay more for completely transparent products. Transparency was very important particularly to millennial moms between ages 18 & 34.
(from Label Insights)
The effect of social media on the brands clearly shows us that the genuine or fake reviews of few people or a negative remark from a reputed person about a particular brand can damage that brand’s business and customer trust. The only way to come out of this is by being transparent to its customers.
All these indicate that transparency not only attracts new customers, they also help to retain the existing customers and helps to maintain brand-customer relationships.
How to Adopt Transparency?
Transparency can be used in different forms by different companies based on the type of business they do. There are no exact rules or measures for what to be made transparent about the brand/product, rather we can say what must be made transparent depends on what favours the business.
For instance, if we consider a food product, the consumers want to know its ingredients, from where it’s raw materials came from, how it’s made, quality of the product, and pricing factors. These factors could be written on the package, but nobody is going to believe it! That’s where the latest technologies come into play. Technologies such as Blockchain, RFID, QR code, barcode etc. can help to achieve a precise level of transparency which is often known as — ‘Traceability’. But if we consider a service like a usual car service, the customers want to know the reason for why they need to repair a particular part which might be costly, how much time was taken exactly for servicing, how the cost was calculated for labour and other taxes added to it.
As mentioned above in the beginning, the company need not expose their business strategies in the name of transparency. This could help gain customers for a certain period, but what’s worse is the competitors could exploit the situation and come up with better strategies to capture the market. For instance, we all know the famous brand ‘KFC’ for their delicious chicken, but until today they haven’t revealed their secret recipe. Companies like them can never adopt transparency because that’s the reason they stand on top in the market.
Consider these 3 important steps that can help you grow your business along with transparency:
1. Share genuine information that is important for your customers and it should align with your brand story. People should feel that you are doing what you promised in your company’s mission, if they feel you are simply trying to market using generic ways, your product may not succeed to attract customers.
2. Study the buyer’s journey well. This can help you understand more about the customers like what they like to buy, what their interests are etc., make them feel that you care about their interests and habits. This can increase their loyalty towards your brand.
3. Maintain transparent customer relationships. Let it be through social media or in any other platform, even if the customers have negative comments about your brand, stay transparent about them too, instead of hiding it from the public. Try to recognize and understand your mistakes and rectify them openly.
Your opinion matters
We wish to know your opinion about transparency in marketing, we are conducting a study to know about your concerns and thoughts on transparency so that we can develop better solutions for it. We aim to create transparency marketing systems for you.
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