Catch Up on Brand Transparency or Face the Consequences

Brand transparency, alongside audience engagement, is more important than ever at a time when companies can build huge profiles through social channels and word-of-mouth, as demonstrated by the continual rise of DTC brands.

Writing exclusively for ExchangeWire, Sergio Valente (pictured below), director of communications at Globo, discusses the importance of brand transparency and audience engagement for Brazil’s largest content producer.

The world is in motion; and it’s never been more important that brands and content providers alike keep in motion with the changes surrounding us.

Operating within a major broadcast network, it’s vital to understand the important differences in today’s audiences. As generational prominence shifts and technology advances, habits of media consumption shift with it. We have a new world to play in, and the implications of this are very much relevant to marketeers of all disciplines.

At Globo, transparency and a direct, interactive relationship between the brand and the public have always been of the utmost importance to us, and it’s been fascinating to watch the wider Marketing industry evolve to focus on these values as consumer’s demands change; which we think can only be a positive thing.

Sergio Valente

Sergio Valente, director of communications, Globo

The transformation in how people interact with everything initiated by new technologies and the behaviour of the younger audiences of today, Gen Z, have forced a rapid change in the way conversations are held between businesses and consumers. This generation has had the unprecedented experience of growing up with multiple devices experiencing the world through the looking glass of the internet, giving them a strong sense of the wider world around them through the ability to instantly seek out knowledge. Having this access to information at their fingertips (rightfully) gives consumers a demand for honesty and values in the brands they engage with. In fact, research shows 91% of modern consumers value honesty about products and services above the actual products and services themselves.

We’ve seen this first-hand through the positive reaction we’ve received to launching our brand book to the public through an interactive website. We’ve retained a core belief in the importance of sharing knowledge and experience throughout our 53 years of operations, and the thorough continuation of this transparency has allowed us to remain relevant to the lives of our younger audiences.

Another interesting shift has been that the fresher-faced audiences of today, generally, know when they’re being marketed to and can recognise advertising – which is vital for marketers to understand. Authenticity is commonly cited as perhaps the most important value for leaders of brands to recognise and with good reason. It’s not enough to force your message down people’s throats. You have to be in touch with the people. You have to care for the people. You have to deliver something genuine to the people. Forcing your key messages into peoples’ heads mindlessly isn’t doing that, you must communicate honestly over a long period of time and build an actual, human relationship. To do this, brands have no choice but to respond in motion and with transparency, if you’re to have any hope of portraying even the slightest sense of authenticity.

Brands like to keep an air of mystique about themselves, with the conversation being very much one way. But it’s not enough to simply be an honest brand that won’t deceive it’s audience, that should be the bare minimum. With an audience this switched-on, there’s a huge opportunity waiting; to break the walls down and make the conversation two-way. The fact that people can recognise marketing when they see it isn’t a threat, but more a new avenue to connect with them and build this relationship. It’s a strong belief of mine that the brands that allow their consumers to do this creatively with them, will be the ones that thrive moving forward.

This informed our thinking to launch our brand book to the public, setting out our brand values, personality and guidelines, showing how we act and behave across a number of touchpoints. It’s a total pulling back of the curtains, making our conversation with people even more intimate and better harnessed in an environment in which they can interact more directly.

Particularly the age of social media, people have a louder voice and bigger space to express themselves. They can talk about your brand whenever and wherever they want. Keep a close relationship with your audience, follow them and learn how to interchange with them appropriately.

The shift towards a two-way conversation has very much begun. It’s time for marketeers to get with the times. Engage with your audience and give them a creative way to engage back. Your business is counting on it.