Why brands need to 'get with the times' and embrace transparency: Lessons from Ellie Hernaman's #SMBuzzChat

During last night’s Social Buzz Chat, a few interesting questions were discussed about how brands communicate with their audiences and leverage opportunities to engage with consumers and reinforce relationships. One of the topics was on transparency and how brands currently approach this concept within their social messaging.

The social climate has changed and it has never been more important or, in fact, essential for brands to learn to drop the 'red tape’ approach and embrace the public’s desire for getting real and offering more transparency.

Words such as ‘genuine’, ‘sincere’ and ‘bullshit’ came up a lot in the #SMBuzzChat and it was apparent that a lot of marketers are hyper-aware that brands need to embrace humility and learn to be ok with taking a more human approach when it comes to reaching their end goal.

With platforms like Instagram and Twitter, brands have the opportunity to offer their followers a lifestyle rather than taking the hard-sell approach; companies who remain intent on shouting sales-focused messages to ‘Buy our product’ and ‘Get it now’ are not likely to survive in a time when actually consumers are sick of overexposure to shouty ads.

Brands that get with the times and embrace transparency - flaws and all - are more relatable. A down-to-earth approach is something that consumers appreciate as it makes brands approachable.

Arguably, this is perhaps why Snapchat is becoming increasingly popular; the rough, unedited, raw footage (actually sounds quite sexual) that Snapchat forces you to put out (again, sexual) means that brands have to show their real, human side, even if it is a bit rough around the edges. People like it.

At Truffle we have coined our own anagram to help extend and utilise the art of transparency: we call it the EIEIO approach.

  • Educate - give people informed content so that they feel like they’re really getting something out of it
  • Inform - brand updates
  • Entertain - this is obvious
  • Inspire - motivate people and excite
  • (Be) Open - transparency as discussed

It’s cheesy but it works.

So the conclusion to the debate on transparency is that 1) people actually don’t mind being sold to if it’s done in an honest way, and 2) brands need to embrace it wholeheartedly, otherwise they’ll get left behind. And, to add my personal conclusion, Snapchat is sexy. There, I said it.

Thank you to Ellie Hernaman for joining in at Social Buzz Towers last night. If you fancy joining us in the studio for next week's #SMBuzzChat, tweet at @baconchin.

If you enjoyed #SMBuzzChat last night, or you’ve never participated in one, sign up to our Facebook event for next week's with Tim Love, social media and community manager at Pizza Express.

Also, want to guest host a chat and get the community to answer your questions? Drop Adam Libonatti-Roche an email and we’ll sort it out.

We only include choice cuts from the chat; for the full discussion, follow the hashtag #SMBuzzChat on Twitter.

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