The Influencer Series: Transparency
The open kitchen at the trendy new restaurant downtown is all abuzz. The chief feverishly chops scallions on a wooden chopping board, and with one graceful motion takes his knife and slides the tiny pieces onto a skillet of crackling sirloin. That is the sirloin that you ordered. And now, as it sits before you, you appreciate it. It is not only a fantastic piece of meat which you are about to enjoy, but also a creation that you witnessed being made. There are no tricks, only total transparency between the one dinning and the one preparing.
This type of extreme honesty is a model that works, and not just in the dining industry. Marketing departments across the world have adopted this sort of an open door policy when it comes to spreading a message. An industry once notorious for being riddled with tricks and gimmicks, is getting a makeover, and honesty is leading the initiative. The companies that choose to be up front are reaping the benefits and, as a result, are shaping the future of the marketing industry for the rest.
Hubspot, who has been at it since 2006, is at the forefront of this paradigm shift. While they allow their clients to send out spammy content, the don’t condone it. Through educational content and the way they market themselves, they perpetuate a culture that looks down on this behavior. After all, shame is one of the best ways to manipulate behavior, and above that transparency works better than the alternative.
Now, consumers have more information at their fingertips than ever before. If your company isn’t putting it out there first, someone else will, and in that case, you won’t have control over it. This gives businesses two choices, they can be upfront and hold a legacy of honesty, or they can continue to operate behind the curtain, hoping that no curious person comes through and rips them down. It goes without saying that more consumers will spend their hard earned dollars on a brand that they believe is honest with them.
Take Patagonia for instance. This wildly successful and popular brand, preaches a message of conservation. One key to their retail triumph has been practicing what they preach. They took it a step farther when the implemented Footprint Chronicles, a program that tracks a product’s journey from origin to consumer. The buyer can watch videos or slideshows of this journey that feature interviews with the people behind the products. The best part of it all is that these interviews are a tell into what is good and even what is bad about the product. “It’s total transparency,” said Rick Ridgeway, VP for Environmental initiatives at Patagonia, in an interview with Simon Mainwaring on Fast Company.
No matter which way you slice it, consumers want to watch, or at least know how you did it. Now, more than ever, a transparent culture is being adopted by the most influential brands in the world. Customers need to know how the sausage is made, or they won’t eat it. Brands that keep their doors closed tight to the public eye, will be left behind with fewer and fewer customers.