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?