Author: Megan Jessop Twitter: @megan_jessop Instagram: @Monk_Envy

When it comes to marketing, the ways we choose to communicate and present ourselves play a huge role. Especially living in the age of technology when consumers are inundated with ads and information every five seconds or so. As marketers, we want to make sure that the consumers within our targeted demographics are choosing to come to us for their wants, interests, and needs. If we want consumers to choose us, then we need to give them the reasons to. Many professionals have found that “playing it safe” on the internet with the professional language and business jargon actually alienates their audiences more often than not. If you are considering your audience with your social media post, articles, and other marketing platforms it is important to be able to engage with them. With the onslaught of advertising, the most successful businesses and individuals are the ones who engage with their patrons in ways that are authentic and fun. Consumers often choose companies that they can trust and that they feel a connection to. When considering that aspect of your customers—and potential customers—transparency goes a long way!

The marketing industry has a bit of a bad rap for being sneaky and manipulative. But it doesn’t have to be. In fact, you are probably going to be getting a lot more long term business for being upfront and honest about your business practices then you are if you leave your consumers feeling hoodwinked because they didn’t read the fine print. So what is transparent marketing?  

Shel Holtz defines transparency as “the degree to which a company shares its leaders, employees, values, culture, strategy, business processes, and the results of those processes with its publics. It’s the opposite of opacity, in which companies operate behind closed doors and shuttered windows.”

We all know of examples where companies have been less than transparent in their business. One example might be Wells Fargo creating millions of accounts on behalf of their clients without their consent. The company addressed these concerns with an ad called Earning Your Trust that came across less than sincere to consumers. Uber, on the other hand, when they were associated with sexual harassment charges, released their video, Moving Forward to address these issues. The more Uber’s CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, engaged with the issue head on, the more consumers were able to trust that their concerns were being addressed and taken seriously.  According to a study done by, “94 percent of those surveyed are more likely to be loyal to brands that are transparent. The study also found that 56 percent of respondents would stay loyal to a brand for life if it was completely transparent.” Transparency is important, always, not just when faced with negative publicity.

Think of all the brands and companies that you love. I can bet that near the top of the list of reasons why you love them, would be that you love what they stand for and what they do. People love Starbucks because they strive for ethically sourced coffee. Toms grew in popularity because the shoes are not only comfortable, but people love a cause they can get behind while also getting something for themselves in turn. Other examples might be the Spark Notes twitter account that has branded itself with a humorous, snarky tone that lends itself to authenticity. More and more transparency is becoming the standard of marketing. This is what consumers want to see.


Fact: Shel Holtz’s Definition of Transparency, Label Insight Research


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