To be transparent or not to be… That is the question

In business the term “transparency” is referring to how open and honest a company is with the public. In this blog post we will go over the benefits of being transparent in the workplace, as well a time when transparency backfired.

Being transparent can benefit a company for various reasons. A prime example of this is seen through the outwear company Patagonia and their program known as the “Footprint Chronicles”.

“We had this idea to go into our supply chain and make videos that a customer could see when they come into our website and find out what the real origins were of their jacket or T-shirt, going all the way back to the farm where the cotton was grown and ending up at the warehouse where the product finally ends up,” said Rick Ridgeway, the VP for Environmental initiatives for Patagonia, when asked to describe the program.

This is a great example of how to be transparent and do it in a way that adds value to your company and its mission.

The Footprint Chronicles helps to create honesty between costumers, the product, and the brand Patagonia.

However, there are times when being transparent backfires on a company. An example of this was seen during the Fairlife PR nightmare, where graphic footage was leaked revealing consistent abuse of calves at open of their major dairy farms in Indiana.

Of course, it was a good thing that this was brought to the public’s attention, but it just goes to show how difficult it is to rebuild consumers trust once it is lost.

After this incident occurred, however, Fairlife was completely honest and transparent about what had happened. During this controversy, Fairlife’s founder, Mike McCloskey, announced that his company will be taking “full responsibility” and is “putting actions in place to ensure this never happens again.”

Although, this did not completely put out the fire that was started, it helped ease some anger toward this incident.

In the world of business, being transparent is crucial in building trust with your audience. Although being open and honest is challenging at times, it is better to be transparent than to have your secrets come out without your consent.

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