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Why Do Brands Need Transparency: Studies and Recommendations

As 2016 Label Insight Food Revolution Study shows, about 94% of customers consider how much info a brand reveals about itself to be important.

It includes information on product and its characteristics as well as on the people who worked on it. 83% of customers would like to get more info about brand products. 37% of customers claim to change their buyer preferences in favor of the brands that offer more info about their products.

Brand transparency means a strategy of revealing the information about the brand to increase customer trust.

Corporations and investors mostly avoid surprises and invest their money into startups open to media contacts. And customers are more loyal to the companies they consider trustworthy. It matters to them who and how creates the products they buy. The less secrets brands have—the more people trust them.

In this post we talk about:

  • Why brands need transparency;
  • How to build trustful relations with customers (Millennials and Generation Z);
  • Statistics: what types of content these generations like;
  • Examples: How McDonald's fight negative reactions using transparency.

Why do brands need transparency?

Brand awareness. The more brand falls into the sight of customers, the more products it sells.

Trust. The easier people find info about brand - the more they trust it. It means it doesn’t keep anything from its buyers and is ready to hold responsibility for defective products and other issues.

“I was choosing a toothbrush. I spotted a new brand on a shelf. But Google didn’t find any mentions of it. So, I just have bought the same brand I used to buy.”

Statistics show that 86% of mothers from 18 to 34 are ready to pay more for products of more open brands.

Loyalty. Stores are jam-packed with various brand products. The choice becomes more and more tough. And when a buyer finds a product of a brand they trust, they stop looking for other brands. It means that customers are satisfied with their choice and have no need of other products.

Brand awareness also helps to cope with these issues. Recent cases with Samsung’s exploding Galaxy Note 7S showed that no matter how hard the issue is, people still trust Samsung and buy their smartphones.

Otherwise, such issues could have buried the less famous brand. Users avoid having a deal with brands they’re not sure of to solve the issues fast.

How brands ensure relationships with Millennials and Generation Z

Millennials and generation Z are the main consumers today. Millennials are those born in late 1980s while generation Z are youngsters of age 20 and teenagers.

The average number of Generation Z among consumers in the U. S. and Britain reaches 26% today. JWT Intelligence studies show that 73% of Gen Z’s pay huge attention to the brand of those products they buy. Brands are an important part of their life.

The first available photo on Instagram with #nike hashtag

Studies show that Millennials and Gen Z’s consider building trust-based and transparent relationships with brands as very important. Products they consume every day define their lifestyle and outlook.

The attitude of Millennials and GenZ’s to brands is different from that of previous generations, claims Norty Cohen, Moosylvania Agency founder:

“Millennials are not consumers and especially not targets in a military-style marketing blitz – they’re friends. We trust friends who listen to us, are open and honest, remember our name, are consistent and stay true to themselves.”

How Brands build relationships with Millenials and Zets

Aside from transparency and honesty, youngsters see brand take into account the atmosphere that the brand creates.

The study of behavior of Yahoo, DigitasLBi, Razorfish and Tumblr users contains the following recommendations:

  • Set the mood. Create emotions and share impressions.
  • Help your audience to escape humdrum by inspiring them to live life to the fullest.
  • Be creative: use absurd collages, bright installations; make use of memes and modern concepts.
  • Don’t discard pop-culture: make references to celebrities and arouse notes of nostalgia.
  • Be useful: create “how-to” posts, lifehacks and other educating info.
  • Re-discover old topics and help your audience to look at them from a different perspective.

Surround your audience with the brand atmosphere. It can be hard, because you need to be sensitive to the audience needs. And to be brave as well. E.g. like Diesel:

Important notes

  • Display info about your products and services quality. Provide constant improvements to them.
  • Let anyone share any info about your company - no matter whether those are good or bad reviews.
  • Don’t hide info. Customers will get it anyway - from other sources, or spread rumors based on their own speculations.
  • Customers wish to know more about the brand: its values, team and ideas it spreads to the world. People wish to know how products are created.
  • Start monitoring mentions about your brand: media publications, social signals.
  • Create a list of your brand’s weak points and make explanations for any customer complaint. Company members should know how to fight negativity on public media. Now solve the issues and work on product drawbacks.
  • Check out how the processes work, be honest with your clients and do your best to improve your services. If brand lies to the customers - there’s no place for it in the big market.

Statistics: what sponsored content are customers consuming

Statistics shows that customers are OK with sponsored content and native advertising if it’s useful and/or entertaining.

Customers are OK with sponsored articles if they’re honest.

Transparency example: McDonald's fights negativity

McDonald's is a company that has fought negative comments for a long time. There are tons of accusations of how its food harms people’s health. The term “fast food” itself is closely associated with junk food and the McDonald’s brand.

When a Canadian representative office experienced the worsening treatment to the McDonald's brand, they launched a special project called “Our Food. Your Questions.” Any user was able to leave the question concerning the McDonald’s products on the open page.

The brand already answered over 42,000 questions. About 3.8 million people visited the page. McDonald's showed the videos from its farms where they grow the products for the chain of their restaurants.

Advertising posters that show the questions of McDonald's customers

Customers are aware of unhealthy properties of fast food. But they need to know more in order to make a wise decision.

McDonald's speaks freely about its products, dispelling myths and fighting accusations. The more brand tells and shows about it, the less place for speculations is left.

Conclusion

— The more publicly available information a brand shares, the less negativity it attracts.

— Customers prefer brands that share the stories about the brand and its inner processes.

— People are ready to change their tastes and pay more for products of more transparent brands.

— The audience doesn’t mind to read sponsored posts and native advertising if it is useful and entertaining.


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