Business Transparency – Is Your Company As Transparent As You Think?

Each day I read the headlines and often learn something new and valuable. But, the other day, as I was looking over the headlines of the day, I came across a post, What social media words do you want to retire? I found the content of this post to be a bit off. The author of this post, Danny Brown, discusses five of his least favorite social media words and phrases and why he dislikes each.

One of his disliked phrases, which actually stuck out to me as an important phrase, was “Transparency is key.”

Here is Danny’s reasoning behind why this phrase, out of many others, should be “put into the social media retirement home.”

“Transparency is key. Unless it’s okay for us to lie about ourselves and make us sound more interesting than we are with tall tales and over-hyped statistics, then isn’t this a given in everything we do, and not just restricted to social media?”

Now, I understand that when people throw this term around without understanding what this phrase truly means, it can be frustrating. But, by no means do I think that “Transparency is key” should be thrown into the social media retirement home, and here’s why:

I most definitely see Danny’s point about overused social media phrases and words. Many people have the same exact point of view. Sometimes it can get extremely annoying when people throw around phrases without understanding the true meaning behind them.

However, I do think that, if used in the correct context and backed by intelligent ideas, “Transparency is key” holds true. I would have to strongly disagree that transparency is a given in everything we do. Transparency is much more than simply telling the truth about your business and using zero exaggeration. In my opinion, understanding what “transparency” means in a business environment goes way beyond being truthful in your business practices.

Many business owners and entrepreneurs often don’t understand exactly what it means to be “transparent.” The truth is, transparency can come in a variety of different forms. A face behind a brand, a strong and clear business message (on all marketing materials), and even a credo or philosophy section on a website are all forms of transparency. These elements enable your prospects and current customers to connect with the brand on a personal level.

And, often, strategically expressing your business transparency is an acquired skill. In fact, transparency is a branch of marketing. Is everyone educated in the effective practices of marketing? Probably not. So then, why is being transparent in our business practices “a given,” as Danny says.

When you throw “Transparency is key” around without understanding the defining aspects of it, you are setting yourself up for speculation. In other words, transparency is not something you say you are. Rather, it’s something you illustrate through effective brand messaging.

Respectfully, I think to say that “transparency is a given” is an incorrect assumption.