Today's consumers are increasingly sensitive when a brand's authenticity and honesty is concerned while organizations and businesses alike need to earn customers' respect in a global context of widespread distrust.
The findings of a survey by Sprout Social show that brands should drastically change their mindset if they are to be successful in the age of e-commerce and merchandise on social media channels. Such a change will require massive efforts, though, as traditionally brands are viewing broader transparency as a potential threat to their business strategy.
Over Two-Thirds of Consumers Want More Transparency from Businesses of All Sizes
According to the survey, an overwhelming majority of 86% of American consumers say transparency from brands is more important than ever before. There are no hints at consumers in other regions and countries expressing opposite views when brand transparency is involved.
But how one defines transparency, you might rightfully ask. Let's take a look at the responses by consumers and their definitions of transparency.
How Consumers Define Transparency
All in all, consumers consider a brand honest when the company behind a brand is open (59%), clear (53%) and honest (49%).
And brands that apply a transparent approach across their social media and online activities reap the benefits of growing consumer trust, increasing sales and a better brand reputation. An honest brand also has greater chance for building broader brand awareness as the word spreads over social and community networks.
Transparency Expectations Grow Every Day
Nine in 10 people say they are willing to give your brand a second chance if you have a history of being honest to them, which includes cases when the customer have had a bad experience.
Furthermore, 85% of respondents reveal they will stick with a brand during bad times if they believe it to be a transparent one.
How Consumers React to Brand Transparency
Source: Sprout Social
What you get by being open and honest to your customers is not only a loyal client base but also the chance to be recommended by almost half of consumers on social media as well as get free positive reviews by nearly one-third of your clients.
Watch Your Step on Social
It appears that companies of all sizes and across any industry can benefit from being open and authentic in their actions on social media channels. It is a no-brainer that being secretive usually rises concerns among customers and rarely helps your brand reputation.
Do not confuse trade secrets with competitive advantages and disadvantages. Withholding information about your product/service or business practices will earn you reputation of a non-transparent i.e. untrustworthy brand, which is definitely not your goal.
Source: Sprout Social
Consumers are also increasingly sensitive about brands taking stance on political and social issues. It used to be the other way since a few years ago but now over one-third of U.S. consumers (34%) expect your brand to have a clear standpoint on various current events.
No brand can afford to ignore questions from both customers and employees anymore if the parent company is to retain its reputation as an honest business. You would better address all those questions very quickly as most consumers expect a brand to respond to queries and questions within hours, not days.
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