Transparency has become a major challenge for companies nowadays. Most corporations try to achieve the trade-off between vulnerability and leveraging strengths to create a competitive advantage and increase customer loyalty. The main reason for transparency to exist in the first place is that customers most of the time will purchase from a brand they trust. The given security of a trustworthy brand overcomes many drawbacks that could have stopped the customer from trying your product. Transparency can be a core competence in your value proposition that provides an edge. In this article I will give you some of the reasons why transparency is being emphasized in marketing.
Honesty as a differentiator
By showing transparency in business operations, a more realistic value can be given to the customers based on their expectations. This is the case with Southwest Airlines, a low-cost airline in the US. The company provided a marketing campaign titled “Transfarency” that consisted of showing the customer how fairly the airline treats them by not trying to trick them, but by putting honesty in the forefront of their operations and giving a fair deal to the customer. By doing this, Southwest provides the maximum value it can provide to customers and lets them know their value proposition in a clear manner. The campaign gathered positive acclaim, setting the airline apart from low-cost competitors.
Fear of Exposure
Being transparent comes with admitting the flaws of your business. However, the common fear is the potential exposure of such an approach, which could backfire if implemented wrongly. Domino’s Pizza 2009 campaign shared harsh reviews of their old pizzas in order to create a contrast with their improved recipes and methods. This kind of behavior is one of the riskiest a business can take but it can also be the best thing to do, since it cleans away any suspicions about its value proposition, especially for startups or well-liked brands.
Avoiding showing pretentiousness
While showing transparency can be a step in the right direction to provide an advantage, trying too hard can provide negative feedback from your core segment. Forcing the appearance of transparency without living up to the expectations is worse than choosing not to go transparent at all. Therefore, showing transparency has inspired people to support the efforts of your venture, showing that their support could be used.
The rarity factor
This is the main reason why transparency attracts loyalty from customers. Most people know businesses always have something to hide, as well as certain claims that portray firms as honest and sustainable without being able to back it up. McDonald’s addressed rumors by sharing facts with its campaign “Our food. Your questions” in late 2014, providing more credibility to the company after its long struggle with misinformation regarding the content of its food. The franchise’s customers know their options are not the healthiest, but they can make more informed decisions now, which dispel rumors that hurt McDonald’s brand reputation.
In short, we have gone through some of the reasons why developing a business’ image through transparency is beneficial for the business as a whole. This is not only in the short-run, but especially in the long-run as it is the basis by which new customers will base their trust in the value proposition of the enterprise.