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Marketing Campaigns: Honesty, Openness, and Transparency

Connecting to users, building audiences, and sustained growth
Connecting with users and gaining their trust is one key to sustained growth. Selecting the right communication channel largely depends on your industry, offering, and client profile.

While it’s laudable to be truthful and honest, it’s now more critical than ever for firms to be open and straightforward in their brand message and actions.

In the age of social media, marketing strategies that employ shady tricks, the omission of key facts, or other underhanded tactics are far more likely to be called out at some point. Negative press can potentially unravel a brand's integrity overnight.

Conversely, brands that follow a truthful strategy from the get-go by using honest marketing techniques are far more likely to enhance their image over time and build a robust, durable brand.

If you're looking for a quick buck by any means, then you needn't read on. If it’s long-standing brand loyalty and a strong, positive image you're seeking, then you’ll find the following facts and pointers highly beneficial.


The power of the personal touch

Think about your imagined client persona and what they need. Focus your strategy on speaking directly to their needs and address them.

For example, a car commercial that focuses on the statistical benefits of its latest model is far less likely to speak to consumers than a targeted campaign that outlines how a small SUV’s spacious size and layout makes everyday life that much easier for a busy mother.

When consumers encounter a brand that blends an honest, open pitch with a personalised message, they’re more likely to act.


Target client and community response

Apathy or the lack of emotional response among a community means there is a gap in the brand message or in its delivery. A company that inspires spirited applause from its community has higher client and customer engagement.

High user engagement is most often achieved through direct and personal interactions. A platform where users can engage directly with a product or service shows that there is nothing to hide.

If you’re willing to answer awkward questions, such as informing users of delays, faults, and down sites, you are likely to build stronger consumer confidence in the long run, plus there will be valuable market feedback from clients as well.

Intimate community contact neatly ties into the five traits that customers value in a brand, according to Harvard Business Review,

  1. Openness: looks at how transparent a company is in its marketing ventures and customer engagement

  2. Relevance: assesses whether or not a brand offers real, practical solutions to consumers in its field

  3. Empathy: measures a company’s ability to make customers feel heard and understood

  4. Experience: a company that makes using its products and services a convenient and enjoyable experience for users ranks high in the experience metric

  5. Emotion: a brand that taps into customers’ feelings ranks high in emotion.

Strong performance in these five areas is proven to correlate directly with profit and growth, according to data from Skyworld. These metrics are largely based on customer reports and ratings, and this highlights the importance of listening to and applying customer feedback.


Transparency from the start

It benefits the marketing strategy to build transparency into campaigns from the beginning to avoid costly or damaging missteps further down the line.

Openness can be surprisingly simple to execute as well. For instance, openly informing customers during queries that certain services are not yet available and you do not have a future release date right now. Or hiding or playing down any potential detractors, such as application incompatibilities.

Clients and interested users are more likely to have a less emotional response when they learn of a drawback of a perceived product weakness in this way, as opposed to assuming that this feature is available and feeling shortchanged when they discover this is not the case later on.

See Also: Organic Marketing: Strategy, Engagement, and Conversions

The age of accountability

We are in the age of accountability for brands of all industries: from fast food to airlines, and clothing to automobiles.

A good or neutral experience might not inspire a customer to connect directly (e.g. on social media). An extremely positive or negative interaction is far more likely to prompt an equally strong response.

If an offering doesn’t live up to its promise, or a business drops the ball along the way, users will have no problem publicly calling them out. Moreover, they’ll feel entitled to do so and voice their opinion to make others aware and exercise caution in future dealings with them.

Accountability is, however, not all tightropes: it has the potential to significantly benefit your business when embraced and utilised correctly. This is especially true when you employ transparent marketing techniques, and deliver above and beyond what is expected. You stand to impress customers and reap the rewards of their positive reviews and online comments.


Long-term success

Employing transparent marketing techniques is a strategy that yields long-term results.

Simply telling users what they want to hear — regardless of whether it is right or not — may bring limited and short-lived success. However, communicating with customers in a direct and honest manner will build a viable brand image for years to come. Tying in closely with this is online content, its presence, and approach.

High-quality content predicts what the audience wants and needs to know. It directly addresses their questions too. Furthermore, it provides an accessible way to share a brand message and positions organisations as experts and authorities in their industry.

Openness and transparency are cornerstones of a sustainable marketing strategy aimed at client-retention, new customer acquisition, and high user engagement.

In the age of online transparency social media is effective at holding organisations accountable for their actions.

Making the right choice early on to take control of your image and message serves to avoid any difficult repair work down the line. Use effective content marketing techniques to transmit your message to your target audience. Help potential consumers see what your brand has to offer and communicate directly to clients and receive optimal results in return.

Originally Published 5 February 2019 on Medium

Revised and published here 11 February 2019

Updated 16 May 2019

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