Managing Director at Portera Technologies, your thinking partner in technology and innovation.
With growing concerns around food safety, ethical sourcing, data security, and environmental impact, consumers want to know more than ever before about the products they buy. Though becoming a transparent business might seem like a momentous undertaking, there are plenty of ways to showcase your business practices to satisfy the consumer need for transparency while giving your company a reputation boost, too.
Examples Of Transparency In Everyday Life
Many global companies are already increasing the levels of transparency of their businesses all around you; some with transparency platforms and others by showing the journey they are on. Much like dining in a restaurant with an open kitchen so you can see how food is prepared, showcasing initiatives can have a huge impact in shifting sentiment and generating consumer goodwill and trust:
• Heineken is increasingly showcasing the sustainability journey of their ingredients, such as the apples used in their cider.
• Friso TrackEasy helps parents and children see where their milk comes from.
• Food giant Unilever shows that even juggernauts can change direction, by opening up its Climate Transition Action plan process. Unilever cannot change its entire business overnight, but the company is showing progress along the way.
Businesses Of All Sizes Can Embrace Transparency
Usually the story goes that small businesses struggle to compete with big brands. But in the age of transparency, smaller businesses are finding that they have an advantage. With shorter supply chains, local sourcing, and a smaller operation overall, it’s easy for small businesses to be fully transparent about how their products are made, what they’re made out of, and how they’re kept safe on the way to store shelves.
For worldwide brands with global supply, sales, and transportation chains, the process of tracking every moving part is more complex, but still possible. Historically, this complexity has provided suitable boardroom cover to delay confronting the consumer demands for greater transparency. But global threats such as climate change, supply chain disruption, and counterfeit risk have increased the demand for transparency to the point that boardrooms now realize that they must act. So the question then becomes, how?
Simple Steps To Increase Transparency In Your Business
Increasing transparency does not mean opening up your entire operation to the eyes of the public. The goal lies in figuring out what consumers want to know, understanding what aspects of the business you are able to share with them, and determining the best way to get this information to consumers.
Understand where you are now. Take a good look at your end-to-end supply, manufacturing and transportation chains. Knowing your company’s process from start to finish helps you find the information you’re looking for, including areas to showcase and areas for improvement.
Know what people care about. Consumers are going to ask different questions about baby formula than they would about bike tires. Analyze market studies, competition studies, behavior on online platforms, keyword research, and your customer support logs to find out what questions consumers are asking so you can answer them.
Look for low-hanging fruit. It may be difficult to be transparent about a global supply chain, but perhaps you could increase internal visibility about the local shop that prints your labels, the environmentally friendly measures in your factories, or the quality-control testing your product undergoes. Start with aspects that are easiest to show and build from there.
Disseminate information the right way. Different audiences consume information differently, so you’ll want to know how best to disseminate your message to consumers. From ad campaigns to social media posts to on-pack engagement options and more, there are lots of ways to get information to your consumers. Choose the ones that make the most impact, then test and make sure the channels you’ve chosen are working the way you planned.
Look for opportunities to improve. You may not have a lean supply chain now, but could you create one? Touting that your company has always been environmentally friendly is great, but so is saying you’re in the midst of making positive changes right now. Look for areas where you can improve, and then announce it to the world. It’s never too late to start doing the right thing.
Build a strategy to improve transparency. With all of the data above in hand, create a company-wide strategy that combines the information people care about, the best parts of your process, and the right dissemination strategy for that information. Once your transparency initiative is launched, track its effectiveness so you can replicate it later with new information or tweak your current strategy to increase engagement.
Transparency Is Easier Than You Think
With technological advancements in tracking, it’s easier than ever to take control of your end-to-end processes and take the first step toward increasing transparency to consumers. Use this information to your advantage to showcase the best parts of your business, and you’ll build trust and loyalty in your consumer base, leading to more sales and a better bottom line.
Don’t be left behind; the best time to take the first step is now.