Value of Transparency

Transparency–an oft used word in today’s corporate world. The question (by the average consumer) is the brand actually being transparent in its claims?

Transparency, is what today’s consumers is seeking, in all forms of engagement with a brand. But transparency comes about when an organisation has the same embedded in its culture. A mandatory declaration of an organisation’s financials or a 100% customer service deliverable is no longer the benchmark of transparency. But clarity in action (that the brand takes across touch points) and open engagement with its key stakeholders lead to transparency (for the brand in communication).

So how do we go about having “transparency”?

  • Ensure that the brand communications (internally & externally) are clearly based on the business strategy.
  • Each of the key messages must clearly tie back to the support that the brand gets or in other words to tangible deliverables from its service lines (or product).

The pitfall to watch out is in the marketing planning stage. This is where, having ensured a clear and consistent set of key messages and the processes that will deliver the same, it needs to be put in to action.

But that’s where the DROP occurs!

When it comes to putting the process to practice i.e. having free flowing two-way information between the employee and his/her superior, between the senior management and the mid, and junior management levels, somewhere some of the ‘information’ is “not communicated” in its full form. Resulting in assumptions, presumptions, and individual interpretations and finally producing a ‘pot-pouri’ where the brand experience is concerned.

Can such drops’  be avoided and a back-up plan developed in case it does occur ?
YES, it can be avoided.

The way to do this is:
1.Role clarity: Right from the start of any project/activity, the team leader should ensure that each individual of the team involved understands his/her role in terms of how the communication would flow, who is responsible for what, and the timelines of the same.
2.Reviews: in the implementation process, productive reviews should be factored in. Productive reviews are team meetings which are aimed at bringing up to date the team members on each specific area of the project as well as each team member using that review session to clarify queries, flag issues and agree to the next deliverable.

Transparency can’t be simply spoken about. As a work cultural value it needs to be demonstrated or shown. And the best way to show is by practicing it.

If an organisation, in its daily operations, follows the above two steps of basic project management, they will automatically be creating a ‘transparent culture’ ie a culture where failure is not penalised as the occurrence of failure will be diminished due to the teams having role clarity and frequently meeting and clarifying all issues.

This in turn would form part of the ‘brand experience’ that the employees in turn will make the stakeholders experience. Simply put, the employees would behave (with the stakeholders) exactly as they do in their interactions internally as it would be a habit for them. As a result, the stakeholders would be getting full information on their brand through their interactions and this would enable them to trust the brand more and more thereby leading to becoming the external brand champions.