There is lots of dialog about how social media creates transparency for organizations and individuals. Much has been written about how kids are posting negative content that will follow them throughout their career given that the web is a mass storage facility of content. Additionally we’ve read how organizations that don’t understand the dynamics of social media hurt themselves when they approach the medium simply as another way to push their product and get rejected by the masses.
At a time in which the public’s confidence in corporate credibility is at an all-time low, many organizations are turning their attention to projecting increased transparency in their corporate governance procedures. Enhanced disclosure practices and transparency are key elements of demonstrating accountability to investors and other stakeholders. One needs only to remember the vivid images of senior executives led off in handcuffs to digest the importance of governance and transparency in today’s business environment.
Those who are most likely to closely scrutinize an organization’s transparency are the millions of online researchers and investors. Online research is most often free, easy and fast – and it is increasing in popularity.
Helen Leggatt writes: There has been a shift in consumer values when it comes to branding and brand messages. Nowadays consumers want more honest, authentic relationships based on trust, self expression and connections, so stop selling and start building relationships.
Generous brands” will be the new-media winners, said Jim Stengel, global marketing officer at P&G. The term, first coined by Fitch Branding, describes those companies that openly engage with their consumers via reviews, forums, social sites and positive actions taken on their behalf.
“We’re getting much more comfortable with the idea that consumers truly own our brands and our brand messages,” Stengel said. “It may be a little scary for us to ‘let go,’ but in the end we must realize that what people say about our brands is valued far more than what we say…At P&G, we’re learning that if we want to engage people with our branding message it has to be on their terms.”
How Transparent Are You?
Transparency, as used in the humanities, when used in a social context, implies openness, communication, and accountability. It is a metaphorical extension of the meaning a “transparent” object is one that can be seen through. Transparent procedures include open meetings, financial disclosure statements, the freedom of information legislation, budgetary review, audits, etc.
What most people don’t realize is that the words and images they post online reflects both the organizational and individual character. Additionally, given the sub-culture of the social web, “how and what” you post also reveals ones understanding, or lack thereof, about one human character. Using it to push your company or product is considered taboo. Using social platforms to stroke your own ego with statements about how good you are or how smart you are is also considered taboo. The primary accepted methodology is simply reflected by the word “conversations” which means an exchange rather than a one way delivery. Conversations that engage others into interesting dialog about things that matter to them, not necessarily about things that matter to you. Pushing out news, or spamming about your product or service is not conversational.
Simply by reading what you post, watching your video’s or viewing your images people can easily profile your ego, personality and intellect. It is the person, message and the methods that creates transparency. And transparency is easy to detect as one views the conversation from the human, not institutional, perspective. Human terms are about relationships that exchange value in conversations. Not institutions that push news about them, their network or their product.
How transparent are you? More than you know. Get it?
What say you?