Today’s customers want to interact with brands that are authentic. They’re tired of dealing with businesses that say one thing in their marketing and do something else entirely. And if you can become a brand that’s transparent and forthcoming, you have a great opportunity to build a loyal following.
What is Brand Transparency?
According to Canto, “Brand transparency is how a brand shows itself to be genuine and open, especially regarding public interactions. It is one of the most powerful ways to gain the trust and loyalty of a target market. Brand transparency mostly refers to a brand’s active attempts at honesty.”
Brand transparency does not mean telling customers every single detail of what goes on behind the scenes. It’s far more nuanced and intentional. Instead, transparency is about high-level communication, availability, honesty, and ethical business practices. You don’t have to share your trade secrets, but you can’t hide behind half-truths and sneaky practices.
Research from Canto suggests that 65 percent of customers remain loyal to genuine brands, while 75 percent will pay a premium to purchase products from these companies. That should be enough to motivate you to move in this area.
How to Increase Your Brand Transparency
Brand transparency doesn’t happen by accident. If you’re serious about creating a transparent brand, you must be proactive. This requires you to:
Get Clear on Who You Are
You can’t be transparent with your customers if you aren’t clear on who you are as a brand. In other words, there has to be a comprehensive understanding of your brand identity by each and every team member (from the C-suite down to the interns and temps).
Your brand identity is a collection of core values, mission statements, brand style guidelines, and visual elements. Develop a clear identity, document it, and be consistent. Then look for ways to clearly communicate this identity in a succinct manner.
Give Away Your Best Stuff
Your brand will be judged by how much value it creates in the marketplace. And though it sounds counterintuitive, your best path toward transparency is to give away as much free content as you can. In doing so, you build trust and prove your brand as a selfless company that cares about customers.
BTOD.com is an excellent example of a company that gives away high-quality content that resonates with customers. They leverage the BTOD.com Facebook page to share behind-the-scenes videos, user-generated pictures, and educational videos. Thus, when people visit the page, they see a vibrant community that believes in the brand and its products. That’s a win!
Hire a Full-Time Customer Service Staff
It’s clear why businesses outsource customer service. However, don’t trip over dollars to pick up a dime. At the end of the day, keeping customer service inside the business is a positive move that will amplify your transparency and help establish stronger relations with your customers.
The problem with outsourced customer service is that the individuals representing your brand don’t actually understand who you are, what your priorities are, and why you do what you do. They’re simply reading a script and cashing a check. You need people who live and breathe your brand. So even though it costs a premium, hiring full-time staff is the way to go.
Admit Your Mistakes and Celebrate Your Wins
No brand is perfect. And the worst thing your brand can do is attempt to cover up a mistake or come up with excuses as to why you messed up. Whether it’s an issue with a product, a poorly handled incident with a customer, or an insensitive social media post, owning up to the issue right away is the best move. You’ll catch a lot of flak initially, but your transparency will soften the long-term consequences.
It’s equally important that you celebrate your wins publicly. Show people when something good happens and let them know that your brand isn’t just surviving – it’s thriving! As long as you’re transparent in the good and the bad, it won’t come across as overly braggadocious.
Putting it All together
Brand transparency is a must in today’s marketplace. Customers have more choices than ever before, and it’s ultimately the businesses that connect on a meaningful level that stand the best chance of winning the sale and cultivating long-term loyalty.
Do your best to enhance your brand’s transparency and you’ll reap noticeable benefits for years to come.