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Why being transparent is so important

Brands and businesses need to have transparency in mind with everything they do. It sounds simple, but maintaining transparency is a constant effort. Some companies naturally take to it, like smaller businesses or start-ups, because they can shift their goals and targets at the drop of a hat. However, larger enterprises have layers of bureaucracy and nuances that can impede the shift to transparent operations.

But what is transparency, and why is it so important to businesses? Let's take a deep dive into what transparency does for your business.

What does transparency really mean?
Brand transparency is when your business has open, straight-forward, and human conversations and relationships. The key is honesty, both with your internal stakeholders and your customers at large. Honesty could mean disclosing critical information about your company's goals, values, and vision, or it could be sensitive data like pricing that you're open to display.

For some companies, this will be a simple task to execute. You can upload your price sheet to your website or add data surrounding the success of your corporate initiatives. This way, your customers don't have to book sales calls or wonder if you stand behind your word. Ideally, you're exposing the success of your efforts and the confidence you have in your business to succeed.

Transparency builds trust
Once trust is established, most customers are loyal for life. So, it's crucial to ensure that it's an initiative your targeting from the ground up. For an e-commerce business, this could be a no-hassle return policy that's functional and clear for your customers. By doing this, you're outlining precisely what your customer expects in the event they need to make a return.
It encourages organic growth
When customers trust your brand, they become advocates for your business. It becomes a talking point for why they choose your brand over competitors. Customers are more likely to be repeat customers of brands they trust.

Internal engagement is strengthened
When staff believe in the values of their company, they are more likely to invest in innovation. They want the brand to succeed because they believe in the values of your establishment. This rings as true for small brick-and-mortar stores to monstrous tech giants.

You can control the narrative
When you're transparent with your values and process, even your products and goals, no one can speak for you on these subjects. If you're in crisis management mode or addressing negative feedback, you can fall back on your honesty and transparency. It will show your consumers and employees that, as a company, you stand by your word.

So, how do you build transparency?
The steps to building transparency for your brand are simple:
1. Make sure your communications are honest. Internal communications, blogs, and even your tweets should be honest. Use real photos of your employees or your factories.
2. Talk directly to your customers via social media. Thanks to direct communication via social media, customers expect their favourite brands to engage with them. Unresponsiveness, especially in a crisis, is a big no-no.
3. Ask for honest feedback. Customers can read through fake reviews and feedback. Social media ratings and even Google reviews put the actual photos and names of the individuals who give more authenticity to their words. Encourage your customers to review you.
4. Be open about pricing. Too often, you pop onto a website hoping to buy a service or product, and you're immediately sent to a form to chat with a sales rep. For more complex pricing structures, you could outline the process behind them.

Transparency isn't a one-time action. It's a continual effort from you and your brand to be open and honest with your customers. There's no substitute for brand transparency; you have to live it.
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