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As consumers, we have all encountered business people who are the exact opposite of clear, honest and transparent. Think of car sales, was the last car you purchased from a salesman that was clear about the price, honest about his/her opinion, and completely transparent in the entire transaction? Likely not.

In a competitive marketplace, it is often difficult to find business owners or sales people who represent these elements. In an attempt to draw attention to their business or product or to appear unique, owners try different sales or marketing methods. Often these attempts to appear unique really distract from their main point; what they product/business does and how it can help the consumer. The concept of being clear, and gaining consumers/followers through honesty and transparency is not far off idea; but really tailored to what the customer wants and needs.

Clear or Clever

We’ve all seen marketing campaigns that make us laugh, but then find ourselves wondering “what was the connection between the pun and the product”. Or, the wondering part doesn’t even cross our mind. We laugh, and then move on to the next piece of media. Sometimes there is a connection between the pun and product, and sometimes there is not. When there is no connection, do you remember the name of the company or product, or do you just remember the joke? The risk of running these types of campaigns is that your clever pun distracts from your company and/or product.

Clear Messaging Avoids Confusion in Marketing

Clever is not the way to go.

Clever can distract your consumers and they may have no idea what you’re talking about. Moreover, the pun may make sense in your head, but that does not mean everyone else will get it too. Don’t hide your message among a bunch of clever phrases. Use simple, clear words and communicate in a very direct way. Doing this will help you gain more fans and followers.

Honesty

Let’s go back to the car salesman or any salesman for that matter. If you have ever encountered a dishonest sales person, you know how that person made you feel. And, if you purchased something from said dishonest sales person those feelings are even more intensified. Encountering dishonest people in business really leaves a bad taste in your mouth. It portrays a negative impression of the individual as well as the business or product.

Portray Your Products and Services Honesty

Your business and product should always, always, always be portrayed truthfully. Don’t pretend to do, have, or be something that you’re not! It will always end poorly. Business is about building relationships with your consumers. You cannot build relationships if your consumers are unable to trust you. Be honest in your communications with your followers and consumers. There is nothing worse for your business than having a reputation of dishonesty.

Transparency

Transparency and honesty are similar characteristics, but not the same. The difference is that transparency is more of an action; do what you say and say what you do. Be transparent in that your consumers and followers know what to expect from you. You are predictable and reliable. You are completely honest and clear about what you do and what you plan to do. There is no guessing game. It is what it is, there is no gray area.

Transparency Creates Positive Expectations from Customers

Why is transparency important?

Similar to honesty, being transparent with your consumers and followers helps to build trust. They know what to expect, there are no surprises. You have been completely upfront about yourself, your business and your product. Your consumers and followers can rely on it. When everything plays out as you said it will your consumers and followers gain trust in you, your business, and your product. If you are honest, there should never be any reason to hide anything. You should always be able to present yourself transparently and should use that characteristic to build relationships and trust with your consumers and followers.

Moving Forward

If you have not been clear, honest and transparent in your business dealings in the past, it is not too late. You can still adopt these characteristics moving forward. These characteristics will help you gain more consumers and followers. Being clear in your communication will attract consumers and followers but being honest and transparent will promote relationship building. Your consumers will begin to trust you, an extremely important element in business relationships. By being honest, clear and transparent you are taking the nonsense out of the equation. Consumers will not need to wade through the garbage to figure out what you are talking about. They are clearly able to understand who you are and what you do. Being honest and transparent will build trust and inspire them to stick around and make use of your product/service. To make a lasting impression on your consumers and followers, give them what they want. Be clear, be honest and be transparent.

Gerald D. Vinci

Gerald D. Vinci

Gerald D. Vinci is a Small Business Consultant and Strategic Branding Specialist. He calls Monterey, CA home and is a life-long musician who spends his free time writing, composing, and producing music. He has also co-authored two books, and is working on his own upcoming book titled, “Small Business Pricing Mastery – Creating effective pricing and defining value for today’s products and services.”

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