Transparency is No Longer a Choice

Almost every day, I see an article or brand study talking about how corporations need to become more transparent. The sentiment is good, but the implication is that transparency is a choice, and that the alternative is to be opaque or shrouded in our actions. This really isn’t the case anymore.

We operate in a world where almost everyone has a phone equipped with a portable video studio capable of instantaneous global distribution. As distressing as it may seem, we are all being watched.

Whether we like it or not, every customer having a bad experience with your service department is starting to act like Mike Wallace on a sting. Remember when restaurants used to try to determine when the food critic was stopping in so they could put on their best show? Well today every customer is a food critic and reviews don’t last a day, they stay online forever!

Whether your employee is bad-mouthing a customer, your accountant is fudging the books or your CEO has more than a casual interest in the new intern, you’re secrets aren’t likely to stay secrets for long.

What can we do to cope with a world that has gone from a 24-hour news cycle to a newsroom with 300 million reporters? There’s only one choice facing organizations under these circumstances: Do the right thing.

Maybe I’m an idealist, but I think most organizations will have no options other than to tell the truth, treat the customer with courtesy, provide a nurturing habitat for employees and show respect for the opinions and lifestyles of others, because if they don’t, we’ll all be watching. And that’s a good thing.

About Kelly O'Keefe:

Kelly has been a branding innovator for more than 25 years. He is a founding board member and professor at the Virginia Commonwealth University Brandcenter, the number one graduate advertising program in the country, according to Creativity magazine. He has been named Ad Person of the Year and Entrepreneur of the Year, and has been a strategic brand advisor to clients like GE, ESPN, Walmart, UPS Freight, Sesame Street and The Home Depot, as well as three governors and several divisions of the U.S. government. Kelly's commentary has been featured in dozens of media outlets, including CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, PBS, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, BusinessWeek, Time, The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times.

2 Comments on “Transparency is No Longer a Choice

  1.  by  Dan Chamberlain

    Sure everyone is in favor of ‘Transparency” but how a customer and how a corporation is allowed to define ‘Transparency’ can be quite different. The gap is where PR firms make money…

  2. Pingback: Breaking Through with Social Media—Your New Secret Weapon | Council of Public Relations Firms

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