Do you know one simple trick that can generate more traffic and sales for your company? It is transparency. Well, they need to know the reality, stop feeding fables to your consumers. Since decades controlling and spinning of a massage has driven public relations. The customary model believed in concealing the information rather revealing and by and large marketing was done through misleading ads. But internet and its side kick transparency have become game changers for the stakeholders in the world of business.
We are living in the age of hyper- connectivity and transparency is not a myth anymore – social media has from top to bottom transformed the landscape. Now you communicate to tech-savvy millennial with a lot of awareness. Gone those days when fake promises and claims worked, people now have become rational. It is more or less impossible for the brands to convince their audience through conventional model of marketing.
In a revolutionised world that is driven by people and enabled by social media – businesses and stakeholders are changing the social-economics (in simpler terms value driven by word-of-mouth galore). Brands need to be more vigilant in regards of their social media presence – on platforms available that are countries in themselves with a massive impact. People within your organisations and around have the opportunity to show what they know about you widely, so not following transparency is certainly not a good idea.
Step One: Execution of transparency in the new marketing model of social media
Are you following transparency? You better be! It is the new form of credibility for your business.
Transparency on the whole is a good approach and it should never be treated like an option. It has become imperative that companies need to have integrity as part of their bones. If not, the digital age is fast enough to let people find the real information (good or bad) as you can never sweep things under the rug. Anyone with an internet connection and stakes in the company will able to know in a very detail way all the information.
Social media platforms are revamping through developing more reality driven and engaging ads to halt mass-adoption. Information indigestion happens if transparency is not taken care of, no matter how attractive the offer seems and instills fantasy, people now prefer living in real world.
Marketing tactics misleading the audience? Get Real Tell No Lies Please
Misleading ads might sound convincing but not too good to be true. The reason why dove advertisement of choose beautiful was a hit because they never claimed to make you beautiful in a night time. Instead they talked about self perception, making girls realise that feeling beautiful is all in their minds, and the power to define beauty is in their own hands through selecting a corridor defining beautiful or average. The conviction mothers have in their daughter’s beauty is the essence of the ad, as girls are expected to have it in themselves.
Big companies making big promises, some making ghost profiles to interact and endorse positive feedback is against transparency. Similarly, burger King Statement “Our food taste as good as it looks” was a scam. Looks can be deceiving. These big brand names are always less honest in what they show and what they serve far from reality they are never as appealing originally as they look in televised advertisements.
At present social media sites are also breaching advertisement transparency – misleading brands in terms of number of views. They are in habit of telling lies about clicks that were never truly visible – Hence, deceiving both consumers as well as brands. Glad to know, this scam will not last long, three second rule is now introduced by transparent social media platforms. The advertisement will only count as seen after two second not sooner or later.
Need a quick marketing fix? Set it right with consumer reviews.
Disclosure of consumer reviews is essentially important – let the consumers say it all out. Be open about what is going on, do not hide it with people. There is a chance they will get to know it anyways. The idea that valuable reviews posted by consumers can be censored, filtered, or constricted is surely against transparency. If in case the negative feedback is deleted or not responded intentionally, it has an adverse impact on loyal consumers and brand reputation at large.
Best is not to conceal consumer reviews just reveal it. At present there is a dire need of self-accountability. Experts are re-imagining social media in the coming year to experience an altered view of a platform that is intended to encounter feedback for the brands exclusively.
Come out of denial phase, something went wrong? Accept it.
Lastly, accepting mistakes instead of giving justifications will always be a better idea. It is totally fine if something went wrong, human errors are part of life. But constant denial and trying not to own it is certainly the biggest mistake one can commit in any public relations activity. The reason being only ownership of mistakes leads to further improvement. Also, stakeholders are no fools – it is totally against brand integrity that if consumers point out something, they are ignored or argued. If that sort of attitude is adapted, get ready to lose consumers forever. As soon as you will come out of denial phase, greater are the chances that the problem will be fixed. As a matter of fact, showing vulnerability and flaws helps in gaining further support and loyalty of consumers.
Step Two: Using advocates for brands’ advantage & ensuring transparency
Companies need to utilise consumer reviews for their advantage. Reach out to the bloggers and customers ask them to respond to complaints and products. Moreover, Stakeholders constant involvement along with that keeping them in loop is imperative. Hunting for consumer feedback and keeping them updated with facts and figures is the trick. Companies that adopted an upfront marketing attitude, in which real numbers and reports are published in blog posts, build trust with consumers quick. A number of companies have recently taken up this strategy and have started sharing internal information on campaign performance and internal stats. Internal data provides consumers a chance to learn about brands mistakes, triumphs, and progress – developing respect factor in consumers’ eye for the willingness to share information. Delivering honest content marketing is the key component in today’s theory of brand psychology and social proof.
For example a great example of transparency is MOZ a company that reveal their revenue numbers. Despite the fact that they had a great year or bad, they just tell it out loud. This made the company 360th most popular site. Similarly, Groove also reveals their revenue numbers every month making it 13,405th most popular site. There awaits more extreme example of transparency, Buffer, a company that built a popular social media marketing tool, is willing to publish a post discussing the salaries of every employee and received 381 comments till January 12, 2015. Transparency paid off, it not only helped them gain thousands of visitors and new customers, but it also helped them gain a lot of respect from other entrepreneurs.
Microsoft provides a number of disclosures to help stakeholders evaluate how they are meeting the citizenship commitment to transparency. They have launched Microsoft Transparency Hub, which publishes in one place the reports regularly on requests for customer data made by law enforcement, as well as government related to US national security.
Also, Microsoft appreciates their consumers across the globe to post blogs that mentions insider to Microsoft windows usage. They have a windows feedback app where consumers can reach and write to them about their individual experiences.
General Motors re-invention.com campaign ‘we are here to stay- setting the record straight’ was launched to regain the consumer loyalty for their brand. They decided to be transparent about their bankruptcy insight and never hesitated in showing vulnerability to their consumers.
Step Three: Relationship Currency and individual’s approach
It is not only confined to businesses that can be exposed, and need to mend their ways. Individuals too need to mind their queues and social media pages. You should always mean it, when you say something. In future prospects people might refer to your posts and comments. The credibility as an individual must not be at stake – always be truthful and honest in whatever you are saying. Consumer knowledge makes things transparent for businesses and so it needs to be objective.
Transparency and trust goes hand in hand. The expression “what are they hiding?” shows that relationship. If company is hiding something no one is going to trust them in future. Transparency is best disinfectant for cleaning up the society and setting things right. It forces businesses, product, and individual relationships to develop at a better level for greater good. Consistently practicing integrity, accountability, responsibility, respect, support, and trustworthiness within emotional boundaries during every interaction helps in earning Relationship Currency. These currencies lend a hand in gaining the trust of consumers and companies to recover their mistakes. Relationship currency is a tangible asset that must be managed well – in the interconnected relationship economy in order to succeed.
Participation with accurate currency is essentially vital in the present age of social media. The currency that matters the most is not in Dollars or Euros but one that enriches the brand consumer relationship. A presence fueled by meaningful candid engagement with valuable content that leaves a great impact must rule every businesses day.
Is your engagement transparent? Remember it is the new reality that needs investment, or you will have to bear the penalty.