In a world where consumers have more information, more choices and more power than ever before, transparency is needed to build trust and reinforce brand loyalty.
Transparent pricing is often a major concern, especially because different online sites may quote different prices for the same offering (airfares, for instance, and hotel rooms). Who can you trust to give you the best price?
transparency issue is not going away', says a vice-president of InterContinental Hotels Group. 'It's not only on our rates but also our company and who we do business with--corporate responsibility'. After InterContinental instituted a Best Rate Guarantee for customers who reserve rooms through its website, research showed that more than 80% of customers cited this price transparency as the main reason for their repeat purchasing and loyalty.
Yet pricing isn't the only marketing element that requires transparency. Scandals surrounding dangerous, deadly worker conditions in Bangladesh and China, and public outrage over horse meat found in food products, are only two areas that put behind-the-scenes conditions in the spotlight.
Customers, it turns out, really do care about ethics in the supply chain, starting with raw materials and moving through production and distribution. This is why Fair Trade food products are increasingly popular, and even smartphones made from ethically-sourced parts are starting to attract customers.
Transparency is a major point of differentiation for upmarket goods, in particular. Brunello Cucinelli, Italy's 'King of Cashmere', recently paid his 700 employees a significant bonus for their skilled work on chic cashmere knitwear (as in photo at right). 'Luxury consumers want to know, or will want to know, that their goods are made humanely', Cucinelli explains.