Does your company value authenticity or transparency, or both?
Authenticity and transparency have one thing in common, honesty. Who doesn't want to do business with an honest company? But it might be more helpful to know the differences between being a company that is entirely authentic and a company that is entirely transparent. Though they both speak to honesty, there are different meanings, because a company is authentic does not equate to being transparent and vice versa.
In marketing, we like to think of an authentic company as one that stays true to their core values, principles, and overall brand. For this reason, authenticity is especially important for branding. If a company decides they want to represent themselves in a way that is different than they normally do, they run the risk of losing the trust of their clients and therefore their integrity and authenticity. Honesty is a quality every company should aspire to have, but not everyone is transparent, which creates a climate of dishonesty.
Unlike authenticity, transparency is not about the representation of a company’s values or brand, but the implementation. A company can be entirely authentic in their marketing strategy, but not entirely transparent about their ethics. For instance, many makeup companies have incredible branding, have great values towards women, health, and skin care, all while testing on animals. Although the company may be authentic about who they are, they are not necessarily transparent about who and what their products are tested on. This isn’t always an issue for customers because of factors such as quality and authenticity, which creates brand loyalty. Some customers are willing to overlook certain behaviors of a company that are not being entirely transparent because of authenticity, while others value transparency over authenticity.
Is it possible to be both? Of course, choosing to be true to a brand while being transparent can be done successfully. With more and more consumers becoming invested in environmentally friendly and ethical business practices the ability to be both authentic and transparent becomes more essential to succeed.
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