Transparency is happening — with or without you. So, how do you become a genuinely transparent brand? It is not a one-size-fits-all situation. Some brands can be an open book, but some brands need to keep things closer to the vest to protect their IP. Does that mean they can’t be considered transparent?
“I would wager that the winners in supplements will feel less and less like ‘companies’ out to reap profits and market share, and more like ‘partners’ in search of open conversation with their customers. Partners share. The best ones don’t keep secrets.” — Marc Brush, former editor of Nutrition Business Journal
Transparency also comes with a price tag. Some of the investment in communicating your processes, practices and sourcing might impact your cost of doing business. Is it worth your investment?
For the past five years, we’ve been involved with helping brands:
- Define what transparency means to them
- Determine how they can express it to their customers and the outside world
Three Phases of Transparency Platform Development
Phase 1: Transparency Definition and Commitment
During this phase, we collaborate with key stakeholders in the company to:
- Gain alignment around the purpose and vision of transparency
- Explore the level of commitment the brand is prepared to make
- Determine what the brand is prepared to reveal and what it needs to withhold
The process usually involves a series of in-depth interviews with key leadership and those departments most affected by transparency. Consensus is reached during an on-site workshop.
“In this digital era, transparency is not only the new norm, it’s expected.” — Why Transparency Should Matter to Food & Beverage Companies, Forbes.com, July 2015
Phase 2: Transparency Factors
During this phase, we outline the transparency factors that will inform a traceability matrix. These factors depend on the nature of the brand and how its products are sourced and made.
The traceability matrix identifies the challenges and opportunities in relation to the brand’s specific sourcing and processing and the stakeholders’ opinions about the need for traceability with those identified factors.
Phase 3: Transparency Expression Determination
Through collaborative meetings with stakeholders, we determine the appropriate way to express the brand’s transparency to the outside world. This can include determination of interactive tools that can connect brand participants back to the company through unique engagement.
At the end of this process, the brand knows how it will express its unique transparency and the level of traceability it is willing to commit to.