Transparency is the hot new corporate watchword at many companies these days. Mostly because businesses are starting to realize that consumers want to know what’s going on with the brands they patronize.
As more and more companies are learning, the business/consumer relationship is no longer a one-way monologue where the company talks at the customer and the customer just buys their product. Consumers today want a say in things like product development and corporate policies—they want to be part of the conversation.
Customers today are far savvier and won’t tolerate being treated like mindless sheep who swallow anything you tell them. Having always-on access to the Internet, customers can easily cut through marketing blather at any time—even right at the point of sale.
Openness leads to loyalty.
Truth and transparency are now vital to a brand’s success in the Internet Age. Brands have to start putting their cards on the table and stop banking on their customer’s ignorance of product’s shortcomings and of competitors’ offerings.
It’s time to be honest and upfront in brand marketing. As the branding agency Landor’s chief strategy officer, Thomas Ordahl, recently put it:
The cynical view of branding is, we’re in the [bull-dookie] business. But the branding business now — we’re in the truth business. You can’t just be a sophistry that will distract people from reality. The days of that are completely over.
So there’s no longer anything to be gained by trying to fool customers or pull the wool over their eyes. Honesty and openness are now the best corporate policy. Still, there may be some legitimate limits to the policy.
Truth vs. TMI
To facilitate the open conversations that customers crave, sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others have cropped up.
But are public social networks the right venue for these business conversations? Can a brand safely allow open discussions with its customers without risking that business-critical or potentially embarrassing information accidentally ends up running wild across the Internet?
Many brands are rightfully terrified by the prospect of their customers (or employees!) accidentally leaking product issues, trade secrets, or other sensitive data on social media. When you employ hundreds if not thousands of individuals, there are good reasons for brands wanting a little control over what they say about the company—media training or its equivalent can only do so much.
A more practical solution is to deploy a private social community like TIBCO tibbr. Branded to look like your own company, tibbr creates a “tide pool” of sorts for employees, customers, and conversations. It’s a social community platform that’s fully open to the public yet still provides brands with a modicum of control over what’s said.
tibbr is the best of both worlds.
tibbr lets brands provide customers with the dialogue they want without the PR disasters. Should sensitive information be exposed on tibbr, the post can be quickly managed, mitigated, or even unpublished by the administrator before serious public damage is done.
If you’d like to learn more about tibbr and how it can help your company moderate your brand conversations—get your own free trial of the tibbr social platform now »