Authentic and Transparent Marketing

Marketing and Sales


Priyanka B
Manager, India

Authentic and Transparent Marketing



Authentic and transparent marketing and advertising involves being honest, genuine, and open about a company's products, services, policies, and values. By using authentic and transparent marketing practices and messages, companies can build trust and establish a strong corporate/brand reputation, leading to long-term relationships with customers.

Growing Need for Transparency and Authenticity

Transparency is becoming increasingly important for younger generations, such as millennials and Gen Z, who are more socially and environmentally conscious than previous generations. These consumers (and potential employees) want to know that products and services they are buying are produced in an ethical and sustainable way, and they expect companies to be transparent about their practices and values.

According to a 2019 survey by Sprout Social, 86% of consumers believe that transparency from businesses is more important than ever before, and 81% of consumers believe that businesses have a responsibility to be transparent. In another survey by Label Insight, 94% of consumers said they would be more likely to be loyal to a brand that is transparent about its ingredients and sourcing.

Younger generations also value authenticity and are sceptical of companies that make exaggerated or misleading claims. They want to know that a company's values align with their own, and they are more likely to support brands that are genuine and trustworthy.

Key Points in Transparent and Authentic Marketing and Advertising

  • USE HONEST AND CLEAR LANGUAGE: Use language that is easy to understand and avoid confusing or misleading terms.
  • PROVIDE ACCESS TO INFORMATION: Give customers access to information about your company's practices, policies, and values. See also: Corporate Transparency
  • TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR MISTAKES: Be honest and upfront about mistakes or issues that arise, and take responsibility for resolving them. For example, the airline Southwest apologized and offered compensation to customers when a technical glitch caused flight cancellations and delays.
  • DEMONSTRATE YOUR VALUES: Show customers that your company is committed to certain values, that might include social responsibility, sustainability and ethical practices. See also Sustainable Advertising and Sustainable Marketing.

Useful Models in Authentic and Transparent Marketing

  • AUTHENTICITY GAP MODEL: This framework was developed by FleishmanHillard. It helps companies identify gaps between their desired brand image and how they are actually perceived by consumers, and to develop strategies to bridge those gaps through authentic communication and transparency. The model consists of four key elements: Purpose, Trust, Reputation, and Innovation. Compare also: SERVQUAL Service Gap Model.
    Example: Unilever's Dove brand has adopted the Authenticity Gap model to create campaigns that align with the brand's purpose of promoting positive body image and self-esteem for women. For example, the "Real Beauty" campaign featured real women of various shapes and sizes rather than "perfect" models, and promoted the idea that all women are beautiful.
  • TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE MODEL: The Triple Bottom Line model developed by John Elkington emphasizes three key areas of focus for businesses: People, Planet, and Profit. The idea is that businesses should strive to create value not just for shareholders, but also for society and the environment.
    Example: Patagonia is a well-known brand that has adopted the Triple Bottom Line approach, with a focus on sustainability and ethical supply chain practices. The company's marketing often highlights its commitment to environmental initiatives, such as its "Worn Wear" program, which encourages customers to repair and reuse their Patagonia clothing rather than buy new items.
  • CONSCIOUS CAPITALISM: The Conscious Capitalism movement emphasizes the idea that businesses should have a higher purpose beyond just making a profit, and should strive to create value for all stakeholders, including employees, customers, and the environment.
    Example: The shoe company Toms is an example of a brand that has adopted the Conscious Capitalism approach. Toms has a "one-for-one" business model, in which it donates a pair of shoes to someone in need for every pair sold. The company also has a program called "Toms Giving," which supports a range of social and environmental initiatives.
  • BRAND PERSONALITY, IDENTITY, PURPOSE: This kind of models allow to build in a clear purpose, values in the brand image that is aligned with your customers.
    Example: The outdoor retailer REI is an example of a brand that has a clear purpose and values that resonate with its customers. REI's purpose is to inspire and educate people to get outside and enjoy nature, and the company's marketing often features images of people enjoying outdoor activities. REI is also committed to sustainability and ethical sourcing and provides information about its initiatives on its website.
In conclusion: There is a strong trend towards more transparent and authentic marketing. The mentioned models demonstrate the importance of that and can be helpful in building strong brand reputations and establishing long-term relationships with customers. By adopting these models and focusing on values such as social responsibility, sustainability, and ethical practices, brands can build long-term trust and loyalty among consumers who value these principles.

⇨ Let's discuss... Do you think authentic and transparent marketing is just the "flavour of the month" or do you agree it a major trend in marketing and even in business strategy that is here to stay? Why?


Paramathmuni srinivas Kumar

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