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Seven Ways Business Leaders Can Boost Transparency With Their Customers

As consumer trust in corporations wanes, it’s up to culture businesses to lead the way in authenticity and transparency.

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Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of Rolling Stone editors or publishers.

The internet has provided consumers with an incredible amount of information. All this knowledge evens the playing field for consumers and pulls back the curtain on certain corporate processes and people. As a result, consumers are becoming more aware and less trusting of corporations in general.

To help companies rebuild that trust, a panel of Rolling Stone Culture Council members shared their insights. Below they discussed seven ways businesses in the culture space can be more authentic and transparent with their consumers and what effect that has overall.

Highlight Individual Creators

I think, in the future, consumers will rally around individual creators the same way they used to rally around brands. Big corporations won’t be as necessary. Creators and individuals who have true influence with consumers and authentic communities will begin to build enterprises and brands of their own. So the coolest businesses of the future will be direct to consumers. – Ryan Tomlinson, Language Media

Get to Know Your Customers

It’s important to take time out of your day to get to know your customers. Read their emails and write them back. Talk to them about how they use your products and hear their personal stories. Our customers inspire us and keep us innovating in our space. – Donna Hockey, Surreal Brewing Company

Look Within Your Organization First

When the Black Lives Matter movement exploded onto the public consciousness, companies declared “Black Lives Matter” on social media, but they failed to listen, learn or look within their own organizations. They didn’t ask, “What does our board of directors look like? How many POC work in management? Who gets supported and promoted?” It was performative. Consumers are holding leaders accountable. Words, positions and values matter. – Lynn Rosenthal, Periscape

Be Driven by Purpose

Consumers are looking for (and deserve) radical transparency, and they are finding it with startups and creators that are driven by purpose. You can never underestimate the power of authenticity in everything you do when it comes to building trust and loyalty with your community. – Michael Klein, Miraculo Inc.

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Prioritize Integrity

Integrity is crucial in life and in business. It takes years to build a brand and seconds to destroy it with bad decisions. Treat the consumer with respect by being transparent about the products you are providing. My focus is on food and beverages. Consumers want healthy and natural alternatives, so be honest about sourcing and ingredients to build your reputation. – Brian Framson, Citrus America Inc

Wear Your Brand on Your Sleeve

Don’t be afraid to look vulnerable in front of your consumers. Authenticity is everything, and brands that build a culture of transparency are able to turn consumers into fans. All brands have customers, but not all brands have fans. Transparency builds trust and people buy from companies they trust and believe in. – Matt Tuffuor, Toasted Life

Build Your Brand Story Around Transparency

True transparency can and should be demanded by customers today. From supply chain and sourcing to manufacturing practices and ingredients, building a brand around transparency will set your company and brand apart from the incumbents. Find ways to build that story and engage third parties to verify and check that trust. – John Tabis, The Bouqs Company

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