May 21, 2024

The Importance of Transparency vs. Authenticity

By Christina Roach (@bbambilove)

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It seems most often when speaking about business practices via social media, consumers automatically jump to the conclusion that businesses being transparent is the most important practice of all. Of course we have discussed a lot this week about how we, as consumers, have experienced a lot of situations where businesses have been extremely transparent with us, as well as many situations where they were not. But does being transparent via social media mean a company will be more successful in its endeavors? What ifa company sways hard on the side of transparency, but lacks when it comes to authenticity?

In a lot of ways consumers believe that transparency and authenticity are one in the same. The truth of the matter is, is that they are not. Being transparent, in all aspects of the word means talking freely and openly about all subjects. How many people do we know who post on Facebook or Twitter every detail of their lives, very well knowing most (if not all) of us do not care to hear about what they had for lunch? It works the same way with companies. If they talk openly with consumers about every aspect of business is this practice still beneficial?

Authenticity on the other hand is staying true to who we are or what we represent. In an article from Advertising Age author Bob Knorpp discusses how being transparent although for the most part is great, in a lot of ways it can hurt a business. However,  he says, “Authenticity doesn’t demand that we always talk openly with the customer. What it demands is that we remain true to who we are as a company” and continues with “Being authentic is an honest assessment of what your brand stands for and a clear understanding of how your brand would handle every situation.”

If a company is staying true140901.authenticity to what they represent via social media without being open to every subject, are they still a company worth supporting? We demand transparency from both people and businesses when we feel that our trust has been broken. If the trust has never been broken, should we still be not only demanding, but expecting transparency?

3 thoughts on “The Importance of Transparency vs. Authenticity

  1. So interesting! I had never thought about transparency in terms of its relationship with authenticity. It seems that both transparency and authenticity are huge issues surrounding public relations today. Now that consumers are so easily connected to companies and to one another, companies and organizations have nowhere to hide. Consumers demand transparency and authenticity. I would argue, however, that consumers are less concerned with the authenticity of the company than they are with transparency. Transparency is important in that if forces companies to be honest and forthright with consumers. Authenticity isn’t as important. It’s of course nice to know what the company stands for, but that isn’t as important to consumers as it may be to the employees and stakeholders of the company. But I absolutely believe that consumers demand and deserve transparency.

  2. Just like Ashley, I never really thought about the connection between authenticity and transparency but they do go hand in hand together. It’s hard to justify transparency on a personal level versus a professional level. I think consumers, like myself, like more transparency from businesses they’re supporting since it’s now “normal” for companies to constantly post on multiple social media platforms. On the other hand, I think that personally people don’t post everything and aren’t completely transparent for a reason. There’s a difference between honesty and posting 24/7 telling the whole world about your life. Businesses who have found that right balance between consistent posting while still staying true and honest with their customers is important. Consumers deserve transparency and the right to know, as a stakeholder, to find out what the company is doing, whether that may be good or bad.

  3. Like Deanna stated, I think it is vital for businesses to find that right balance between staying consistent and true. We are not looking for posts 24/7, but we still want them frequent enough to understand what is going on.

    I believe if a company is staying true to what they represent, they are indeed still worth supporting. Not only would it be extremely difficult for a company to disclose all information, but there are some instances that could easily be taken out of context and be more damaging to a company than it’s worth. Whether or not a company is worth supporting depends on what they are being open to and in turn is completely situational.

    If the trust has never been broken with a company, it is probably because they have been transparent and their values align with what they are representing via social media. In these instances we are not demanding transparency because we believe it should, or expect it will already be there.

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