Coming Clean in the Age of Transparency

Andrea Miller

Written by Andrea Miller on Wed, Sep 11, 2013

OreoIn today's age of transparency, there will always be people to call you out if there's even a hint at secrecy or untruthfulness by your brand. It happened when Subway didn't measure up to their foot long sub and now it seems Double Stuf Oreos may not have actually double the stuff. While these two examples may simply be a matter of teenagers with too much time on their hands or a high school math teacher getting creative with homework, they do illustrate that people now demand and expect the truth and won't be shy about taking a company to task on it.

Social Media Outcry

A smartphone and a Facebook account is all someone needs to challenge you these days. No longer do we need to rely on the media to be the gatekeeper. The public is the watchdog, and sometimes in attack mode.

Nyad SwimsRecord-breaking long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad completed the crossing of the Florida Straits last week. But some fellow long-distance swimmers have flooded social media channels and blogs to question the authenticity of the 64-year-old's 110-mile swim from Cuba to Key West, Florida.

Theories are floating that Nyad was assisted by support boats and that she violated traditional sport guidelines by wearing a specialized mask and wetsuit to guard from potentially deadly jellyfish stings.

Nyad's team has strongly denied allegations of wrongdoing, and said in a statement: "Diana is proud of what she and her team accomplished last week, and she is committed to complete transparency."

She's invited a dozen veteran marathon swimmers from all over the world to participate in a panel discussion via Skype this week to address the claims.

How You React Defines You

Bodyform Facebook PostNyad chose to face her skeptics head on. Bodyform did the same, although in a humorous way.

The feminine hygiene product company touts its products as something women want to wear, not just something they use. They say they are all about comfort and quality and being "for" women. So, when Richard Neill posted on Facebook that he had been deceived that a woman's time of the month wasn't all biking, dancing and parachuting like depicted in the ads, Bodyform responded with this video.

This hilarious response pokes fun at Richard "tearing down the veil" and exposing men to the reality that there really is no such thing as "a happy period". It's obviously resonated with the public as the video has almost 5,300,000 views.

The Trend of Transparency

Brands are turning to content marketing to tell their authentic stories to the public. Through blogging, websites, social media and video, companies understand they need to be true to gain trust.  Stories of brands embracing content marketing and going a step further like J Crew and LUNA Bar to evoke emotions from their consumers inspired us to write our own book on the trend of transparency.

Just released last week, "Brands in Glass Houses: How to Embrace Transparency and Grow your Business through Content Marketing" provides examples of companies coming clean while others are still hiding behind the curtain of secrecy. Co-authors and SPROUT Content Co-founders Dechay Watts and Debbie Williams searched the globe for telling examples of brands, both big and small, who are using content marketing to show their human sides. Their success stories and tips will inspire you to be open and transparent in order to:

  • Earn consumers' trust and loyalty

  • Position your brand as an industry thought leader

  • Build stronger relationships and win more customers

After reading this book, you'll realize that being candid and honest about who you are is the only way to do business now. You may even rethink your entire marketing strategy.

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