Why brand transparency is vital in the ‘Age of the Customer’

Written by Beth Cunniffe: Content manager.
· 4 minute read

Today, brands are pretty much at the mercy of consumers. We’re in the ‘Age of the Customer’ where they control the conversation, decide who they’re going to spend money with and who they aren’t.

Trust has been a growing issue for consumers. We have become more choosy when it comes to the businesses we engage with, deliberately avoiding brands we don’t trust or aren’t comfortable with.

But how do we decide which brands we trust?

Fuelled by so much choice and with so much information at our disposal, customers now have a greater expectation of transparency.

Consumers want to know everything about what they buy, they want real connections with brands and people can now find out the information for themselves anyway if they just go looking. So if brands try and keep their workings shrouded in secrecy, it’s only going to raise more questions.

And there are stats that show that transparency is directly linked to consumer loyalty. A study done by Label Insight found that:

 

+ 94% of people are more likely to be loyal to brands that are completely transparent

+ 56% of people would stay loyal to a brand for life if it was completely transparent

+ 73% of people would pay more for a product that was completely transparent

+ 37% of people would switch brands if another brand shared more detailed product information

 

In the ‘Age of the Customer’ brands must open themselves up to the public and become more human.

 

Brands who have embraced transparency

 

There are so many different ways to be a transparent brand. Whether it’s showing customers where products are sourced, responding to a company crisis or disclosing “sensitive data” here are some brands who have used honesty and transparency to their advantage.

 

McDonald’s

After rumours began circulating on social media about what actually went into McDonald’s food, the brand decided to take steps to debunk some of the myths. Promoting a culture of honesty and transparency, they crafted their “Good to know” campaign focusing on the quality of their food:

And it worked, food-quality perceptions for McDonald’s increased to their highest levels and for every £1 invested, the campaign returned £5.50.

 

KFC

This year, when KFC change their delivery company, chaos ensued and they actually ran out of chicken. This forced closures of many of their stores across the UK. But rather than try to mitigate the situation behind closed doors they owned up to the shitshow, tweeting at the time, “To put it simply, we’ve got the chicken, we’ve got the restaurants, but we’ve just had issues getting them together.”

Customers loved this upfront, honest approach, especially when they followed it up with a brazen, apologetic print campaign (it even won a gold Cannes Lion in the Print & Publishing category).

 

 

Although the ad appeared just once in two papers, it was shared 219 million times and reached an estimated 796 million people through coverage.

KFC kept customers up to date with the situation by being completely honest and showing how hard they were working to get back up and running:

 

 

They have even continued with the joke, recently using it to get involved in world cup fever:

 

 

Buffer

Social media management platform, Buffer, says it is “trusted by brands, businesses, agencies, and individuals to help drive social media results.” And part of this trust comes from how transparent they are with their employee salaries. So transparent that you can actually take a look at what each and every team member earns here.

Not only does this level of honesty make it easier for Buffer to attract new talent to their team but it showcases to their customers that they are a fair company that and values its team.

 

Transparency in digital marketing

 

Honesty and transparency is something we hang our hat on at Run2.

Digital marketing was once seen as a bit of a dark art and whilst it’s come a long way, so many agencies still try to shroud what they do, operating in a cloak-and-dagger type style.

Whether that’s because they’re scared their clients will start doing it themselves, or they just don’t do a very good job – I don’t know.

But we don’t find that way of working very helpful to us or our clients. However, it is useful when other digital marketing agencies work like this because we get to show them how their digital should be working.

So many clients come to us not really knowing what’s going on with their digital. They don’t know if their current ppc campaign is working, even going so far as to ask us to clarify how much they’re currently spending and what they’re getting back. Many don’t know what their seo strategy is or whether it has been worked on over the last three years. Some don’t know because they’ve never been told and some have never really thought to ask.

Our approach is that by having honest and open conversations form the get go, providing thorough updates and reports on the regular, and just making sure everyone is on the same page at all times, it makes life so much easier. It means we can provide better results, clients aren’t left in the dark wondering where their money is going and there are no awkward conversations to be had.

Being honest and transparent allows us to show clients just how good we are and proves that they can’t get the results without us.

 

Ready for an honest conversation? Get in touch.