Embracing openness and transparency
How transparent should companies be? There’s an argument that many brands aren’t getting it right.
Sometimes the amount of information released to it’s customers is more than they need or want whilst others hold too much to themselves. A glut, feast or famine, getting the balance and tone right is vitally important as Martin Thomas, author of Loose suggests, social media needs only three actions to work well: be human, be responsive and be open.A great post written by Amy Duff in Director Magazine explores the challenges faced by businesses and governments in this age of enlightened, connected consumers.Amazingly, some organisation struggle with this. A corporate tone of voice doesn’t inspire anyone, in fact it can feel like we’re being spoken at rather than engaged with. This is a legacy of a world that we wish no longer existed, when brands told you what they wanted you to know. Enough has been written about the demise of this kind of thinking and yet it still persists in the closed minds of some CEOs and MDs which unfortunately permeates throughout their organisations.
Spend some time listening to your audience and you may find there is a big disconnect there, but see this as an opportunity not a death knell.
Innovator and R & D companies argue that secrecy is valuable weapon. No one is suggesting you give away the crown jewels but the opportunity for opening the door to innovation and R & D to your consumer and internal teams is a 21st century necessity.
Taking risks in business, especially investing in innovation is calculated. Doing this without your audience’s input increases this risk many fold. Being in a space with your audience vastly reduces the cost of innovation and creates fresh insight that ensures you develop the products and services people want faster. This type of engagement also fits with the lifestyles and experiences of todays enlightened, connected consumers. The tools available are familiar to them, engagement takes place when and where they want it and organisations, for the first time, can get immediate unfiltered feedback. A contribution that directly influences their product and service design.
As Thomas says, “Show the world that you are real and that you care about what your audience thinks.”
Find out more about co-creation, online engagement and market research through private communities at www.bettercommunities.co.uk.