Consumers are Weary of the Okey-Doke

In reading Max Kalehoff's OnlineSpin about how online transparency might affect brand building, I got on my soapbox a bit and wanted to share it with my FC readers. Here's what I had to say:

"I don’t think it’s a matter of whether companies will need to publicize their GOOD deeds. The question is: what will they do to address their BAD deeds? Since, in many cases, negative information that’s communicated about a brand tends to trump good information.

That said, when people talk about transparency, they’re not talking about the ease of which one can parse loads of conflicting online content, they’re most often referring to brands choosing to be more open, honest and direct about everything from how hiring decisions are made to why they chose to use recycled paper products in their corporate cafeterias.

As consumers get to see what’s behind the curtain, it absolutely informs them more about what a brand actually stands for.

Ask Coca-Cola about South Africa, Nike about sweatshops and even poor Tommy Hilfiger about Internet rumors re: his comments on Oprah that he never said.

Slick communications is one thing, but once people find out anything that’s inconsistent with what they already believe, you better believe they’re going to look into it - transactional purchases or not. The public has grown weary of the okey-doke."

What do you think?

Do you think that marketing communications are more valuable than what consumers find out about a brand online or via citizen journalism?

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  • Fleur des bois

    Once again, it depends on which brand we speak about.

    If we speak about a huge company like Coca Cola nothing can destabilize this brand, because they are such a strong brand that bad deeds can influence it.

    If we speak about a smaller company and if I find some bad information about them (i.e. as children exploitation, use of dangerous products, not taking care of the environment), I’ll probably try to find competing company to buy my products from.


  • Jae Onn Kim

    I think it is more important to find out by ourselves. This is because sometimes consumers are confused because of gimick,so they can not make a good decision. Moreover, in Korea, we have some right that is called "Known Right". Because of this, they who are working in a company have to give us correct information without tricks on the web site. Therefore if we make a decision based on those things, we have to accept our decision even if that is a wrong decision.
    For these reasons, I do not think marketing communications are more valuable.

  • Jacqueline Woller

    I think that both ways are okay.
    If you have the marketing communication, you can use this as a tool for the best presentation of your company.

    If customers can develop their own view, then they can look at the internet, or newspaper or talk about this theme with other people.

    So the company should have the best way to presentate themselfs. If they have a good homepage or a good advertisment, they can give the customer the best view.