Throughout the country, Better Business Bureau Integrity Awards are being introduced to businesses in local communities, regardless of size, for "exemplifying BBB's mission and principles, including honesty, commitment and responsibility". Regional BBB companies that go beyond, focus on those who do business rather than running a business based on profitability or popularity. Annually, the Better Business Bureau presents the International Torch Prize in Washington, DC, designed to celebrate the "long-term value of reliable and honorable business practices". In 2009, Target Corporation and American Honda Motor Company were two of the recipients.
Dictionary.com defines integrity as "connection to moral and ethical principles, goodness of moral character, honesty." The word integrity today is synonymous with transparent marketing. The core of your business practice should be your core values. What is important to you? What is most important when you do your business daily? Do you care how your customers mix with your business? What is their role in your success? How do you want your employees to present themselves as they represent your brand? How do you represent your brand? If you were considered for the International Torch Award for Marketplace Excellence, you would need to show your "superior commitment to exceptional standards that benefit customers, employees, suppliers, shareholders, and surrounding communities".
Can you do it?
One of the first steps to lead your business with integrity is trust. Better Business Bureau's slogan is also "Start With Trust". If trust is not at the heart of your best practices, how should you move your business forward? If you are honest and responsible for your business, you become a thoughtful leader with what people want to do business. Trust is the basis for great relationships. Transparent marketing is a way to build trust and integrity.
Marketers are often accused of fraud, using tricks of the trade to imply a connotation, but mean something else. They use advertising, a game of words and deceptive tactics that attract customers to the door, just for the disappointment. Today's customers are very savvy. They have no tolerance policy when it comes to false advertising and marketing. They want to know exactly what they will get and demand that marketers simply come to that point quickly. otherwise they move on to a company that wants. This applies not only to your customers but also to the end users.
As transparent marketing evolves, we see less of the traditional ways of marketing a product such as print or TV ads and more viral online marketing with social networks, blogs, and real-time reviews. Customers market your products and services for you. Oral words have become king. Now, more than ever, your privacy is at stake. How are you going to keep it?
– Do not lie. It may sound ridiculous to even say this, but your mother taught you not to lie. So did your teachers. There are various forms of lying, and none of them belong in your business model. Be open and honest with your customers. If there is a problem that you cannot solve, say so. Then you find the answer and take it back to your customer. If you make a mistake on an order, acknowledge it. Then fix it. Learn from the mistake, continue and do not repeat it.
– Tell the whole story. Telling half of the solution or story is the same as saying half a truth or half lie. If the big picture is not completely rosy, paint it anyway. Your customers will appreciate that you explain the benefits and potential pitfalls of wearing a new product or working with another solution.
– Decide why you might be considering avoiding the truth and then solving the problem before presenting it to your customer. By getting to the root why you might be considering compromising your privacy, you allow time for inward reflections on what your shortcomings are like VAR. Once you have determined these weaknesses, you need to decide whether or not they are worth fixing or if you are just honest about these weaknesses can actually benefit you in the long run.
In the end, you want to do business with customers, suppliers and yes, even your employees, who include and believe in the same core values as you do. Share your story with them. Show them as you intend to do business with them based on integrity and openness. Don't just give a keyhole view of your world – keep the door open. You can feel vulnerable, and the whole concept of transparent marketing may seem a bit scary. But your integrity is at stake. It's time to take the risk. The rewards are well worth it.