The Importance Of Transparency And Honesty In A Message

The world of marketing boasts a vast array of self-justified phrases which circulate around the tongues and speaking circles of marketers.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” or more colloquially put “she’ll be right mate” are testament to this assertion. They reverberate around the office walls of marketers, operations managers, directors and executives. Furthermore, they are not geographically-bound to any one region. They affect the decision-making of a retail chain in the UK, as much as the marketing team of a solo F&B operator in Australia.

It is solely due to this belief that there are a vast amount of poor campaigns by good brands, world-wide.

Becoming complacent and adhering to status quo with a marketing strategy is what’s “killing the cat.” Marketers in control of a national brand have big shoes to fill. The pressure of delivering campaigns falling nothing short of excellent lingers around their aura like a shadow follows its owner and the pursuit for brilliance has become ever so challenging in an interconnected, noisy, digital world.

Alas, a sanity-check exists to determine if a campaign clouded in a layer of doubt, really can penetrate the legion of both realised and yet-to-be fans of a brand.

That sanity check is based around one concept. The level of transparency in a message.

Not withstanding the pressure of being perceived as a buzz term and certainly not relating to a graphic element located within marketing collateral, transparency is the answer to the question “Will people believe this campaign? Or do we need to adjust the truthfulness and delivery of the message?”

Delivering honest copy within a marketing campaign can be trivialised by many, although it presents a real challenge during the conceptualisation stage. The relative ease at which a marketer can fall in to the trap of implementing tired tropes and marketing-spawned idioms is ever-present. So some crowd-sourced thinking must be applied here.


If we are to examine a restaurant which asks for its patrons to purchase a certain amount of product in order to gain 10% off their dessert, it’s safe to say that one couldn’t astutely label that as an “honest campaign.”

The reasoning for this can be quite deeply and analytically derived, as a slew of psychological fallacies pepper the very fabric of such promotions. Yet it’s safe to say that in its simplest and purest form, consumers are simply avert to giving a damn about an offer which is masked in the guise of a very basic thought from the party offering it; “give me a gallon and I will let you have a sip.”

The above is a commonplace marketing tactic by price-driven or complacent brands. Neither the former nor the latter is an attribute which any brand should aspire to implement or sustain quickly. It’s toxicity has historically been revealed in group-buying business models and marketers which are conducting such activities simply to tick the “I sent a promotion out this week” box in the check-list of weekly activities.

Transparent and honest messages are tough to conjure for marketing is a game of riddles, semi-truths and “revenue first, customers second” sentiments. Yet, whilst all of this may be private thinking living in the minds of creatives, message creators and executives at agencies and consultancies, one should never forget that consumers are quite skilled at rapidly diagnosing the bullshit levels of any campaign, irrespective of channel or industry.

Be honest.
Be truthful.
Be sincere.
Be transparent.

Just like Turkish Airlines did with their Periscope project.






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