It’s happened to all of us. You order a fresh, hot stack of pancakes or a big, juicy burger and when it arrives you think, “well that looks nothing like the photo”. This is because food photographers use things like motor oil instead of syrup on pancakes and layers of cardboard within a hamburger to make it look plumper. Wanting a product to look the best it can for promotional materials is one thing, but using “gotcha” marketing tactics to do so is where a line can be crossed.
More recently, marketing and public relations teams are having to be a little more creative—and straightforward—if they want to win consumers over. Customers have more choices than ever, and if they feel bamboozled by one brand, they’ll simply choose another. People respect brands that are honest in their marketing efforts, and are often willing to pay more to support a brand that they feel respects them in return.
Customers want to feel like they are connecting with people, not brands. Transparency in marketing allows a company to be seen as human, and less as a robotic corporation. Letting customers in on the failures and struggles that a business has faced to get their company to where it is reminds them that it is human- and keeping your consumers in the know about the “why” and the “how” will make them feel valued.
Clothing company Everlane is transparent with their price tags, and wins big for it. They show the cost to make each product, from production to materials, and then pass those costs onto their customer, without the huge markup. While other clothing companies may mark up products 5-6x, Everlane does so at 2-3x, making their products significantly cheaper, but with the same quality and care of materials. Research by Label Insight reveals that, “94 percent of those surveyed are more likely to be loyal to brands that are transparent.”
These days, consumers want to be respected and they want to know exactly what they are paying for. Transparency not only allows customers to have an insight into what they are spending their money on, but allows business to show their buyers that they respect them enough to share that information with them. Companies who make the effort to not only give them a product they love, but show them the “why” and “how”, will see their attempts return as profits—and often, customers who come back again and again.