Millennials require transparency. A generation that came of age with information at their fingertips, they are reshaping the way brands communicate their values, their product’s benefits, and even their supply chains. From food to politics, healthcare, and employment, millennials’ “Self, Society, and Planet” ethos drives them to understand how their purchasing decisions impact themselves, their communities, and the environment.
This requires brands to communicate in new ways. Either they embrace transparency and authenticity and retain control of their narrative, or they drive consumers to third-party sources of information that may or may not present them in a positive light. Either they communicate directly with consumers on social media or they are talked about without a seat at the table.
These brands have responded proactively to millennial consumers’ desire for transparency and created success as a result:
Fitbit: Transparency with Consumer Data
After missteps from Facebook, Uber, Equifax, and others, mismanagement of sensitive user data has become a rallying point for data-conscious consumers. One company that does it right? Fitbit, one of the first products on the market that collected data about consumers’ health and behavior. Even before other companies violated the public’s trust by sharing, selling, or inadequately protecting sensitive information, Fitbit made a point of being transparent about their data collection policies.
As Kayla Matthews notes on Inc., “some consumers resist doing business with companies unless it’s possible to verify what those businesses do with the provided information and whether customers can limit what’s collected.” To counter this, Fitbit provides an easy-to-navigate page with links to detailed explanations of what data it collects, how they share it, and even how the company handles the data of users under 18. Consumers have rewarded Fitbit with their trust and loyalty.
Patagonia: Transparency in Values
Patagonia is one of the most transparent brands out there. Whether sharing detailed information about product sourcing or the steps along their supply chain, they’ve consistently outdone their competition. Their marketing approach prioritizes values-driven messaging that resonates with the brand’s core demographic.
As Sofie Lundberg writes, “Patagonia continuously presents itself not simply as a brand that consumers can buy clothes from, but as an ambassador for key issues it knows its consumers care about.” Past campaigns have highlighted the protection of public lands, sustainability in production, and ethical sourcing of materials. By being transparent about their core values, the brand has attracted die-hard supporters who invest in their products and their causes.
Chobani: Transparency with Communities
On Instapage, Ann Hodge notes that “Chobani’s tagline is, ‘A cup of yogurt won’t change the world, but how we make it might.’” Founder Hamdi Ulukaya prioritizes his company’s impact on the communities where it is made, including happy, well-paid workers. Ulukaya has spoken out in favor of raising the minimum wage, implemented paid parental leave, and even gave 10% of the company to its employees in 2016.
Chobani’s “About Us” page foregrounds the company’s “humble roots” and dedication to maintaining a connection with communities as it grows. By being transparent about its desire to do good in local communities, the brand has gained a reputation as authentic and honest. Its sales and market share have since surpassed industry giant Yoplait.
H&M: Transparency about Impact
“We believe transparency plays a key role to build trust and credibility along our supply chain and empowers our customers to make more sustainable choices,” H&M notes in a recent press release celebrating their top 5 slot in Fashion Revolution’s Transparency Index. The clothing manufacturer and retailer was one of the first in their industry to make supply chain information consumer-facing in 2013.
In an industry that is notorious for waste and poor labor practices, H&M has endeavored to be transparent about factory and worker conditions as well as sustainability information through its Conscious Exclusive collection. They continue to publicize their journey towards a circular production model and encourage consumers to recycle fabric at their retail locations. Among “fast-fashion” consumers, H&M has distinguished itself from the competition and been rewarded by customer loyalty.
What might greater transparency achieve for your business or brand? These examples prove that consumers across diverse industries value and reward brands that embrace transparency and authenticity.