What Transparency Will Do To Your Brand

Today when you market a product and actually manage to make an impact the first thing that happens is that people go online, not to your brand site but to Google.

Have you Googlified your brand and business?

A search on your product or service reveals everything there is to be found related to that brand of yours. You might think they’ll head over to one of your campaign sites but think again. People who search for your brand online have already gotten past the attention phase. They want information that is not tampered with by that marketing department of yours. Since the web is constructed of links and those links usually don’t give a shit about advertising you can be sure your potential customer will go for user-generated content first.

Google ›› Search ›› Results ›› Bam ›› What will they find?

If you’re one of the lucky few who actually do create kick-ass products – Then you can be sure they will find good stuff about your brand. But most brands out there don’t since they’ve spent the last 50 years getting used to cutting costs and advertising their way into the mind of the consumer. Well, not any more.

The Nielsen Company bring some clarity to who people trust

User reviews and recommendations like Yahoo Answers, comparison sites like Pricerunner, crowdsourced customer support like Getsatisfaction, Social buying like Blippy, forums, online experts on About.com, Facebook content, blogs, fan or hate sites, tweets, wikis, professional bloggers, video sites, photo communities like Flickr, online newspapers and even books via Google books. All of these provide an alternative and often more credible point of view of your products. Even more important – they all show up in that Google search result and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Media companies no longer filter information. You and your friends do!

Once your potential customer has learned everything there is to know about your product the competitors are only a click away if your products aren’t up to the right standards.

So what does transparency mean for your brand and business?

  1. Develop every product and service with a potential comparison in mind.
  2. Good is not enough. Your product has to be the best
  3. Move your media money from bought media to earned media in order to grow an online presence that creates true value for your customers.
  4. Don’t create websites. Create web presence.
  5. Don’t advertise things your products can’t live up to. Potential customers will be disappointed when they find out. If it’s bad they’ll even spread the news.
  6. Everything communicates (as I’ve said before)
  7. Don’t just look for potential threats on your local market. The web is global and your competitors will be too.
  8. All that content generated by others can be your friend. Find it and learn about your strengths and weak spots.
  9. Treat your digital fans like any offline VIP customer – give them stuff before other people get it and make sure they can share it.
  10. When sustainability becomes key greenwashing is not an alternative.
  11. Constantly innovate your products to beat your competitors to the finish line.
  12. Constantly surprise people and they will love you for it.
  13. You can’t hide bad news from people.
  14. Don’t take credit for things you didn’t do. Praise people who’ve inspired your brand.
  15. Finally stop creating complex products and services. Take Clay Shirky’s word for it.

Word!

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Curiosity. My greatest asset. Born 1971 and Raised in the suburbs of style city Stockholm, creativity was always a part of growing up. With a background as a former snowboard professional (with among others Greger Hagelin from WE and Per Holknekt from Odd Molly as sponsors) and one of the few in the world who nailed a 1440° spin, I started my career on the buyer side. Marketing exclusive golf brands such as Mizuno, King Cobra and Goldwin gave me insight into the demands of advertisers and consumers but foremost the complexity behind how products actually make it into the stores. Always full of ideas, I felt I needed to move on to the creative side of the business. Internet, on the rise in Sweden drew me into the digital revolution already in 1994. In 1998 however I joined Framfab, one of the late 90’s fast-moving companies. As a concept developer and key account manager I parted in creating award winning projects for clients like Vattenfall , Bredbandsbolaget, Nike Europe and Volvo Cars. I also held a position within Framfab Innovation. The incubator of new ideas within Framfab. After Framfab had grown in just two years from 130 employees to 3400, I felt I needed to move to a smaller organization. Abel & Baker - in 2001 the worlds most awarded digital advertising company attracted me. At A&B I tool part in winning the global account for adidas, but I also worked with MTV, Nokia, Toyota, Årets Kock, ICA and the Red Cross. In 2002 I left Abel & Baker to found something of my own - Foreign. Foreign - an ideas creator with focus on the communication of tomorrow - based in Stockholm, Sweden. Foreign quickly grew to 27 employees and was awarded in the Cannes Lions, D&AD, New York Festivals, London International Advertising Awards, Epica, Clio, Cresta and other award shows every year since start up. Foreign launched both digital and integrated global campaigns for BMW Motorrad, MTV, H&M, IKEA, Omega, Beckers, Com Hem, Intersport, Kosta Boda, adidas International and many more. In September 2008 I took the decision to close Foreign down after almost 7 years. I’m now consulting within the same business on my own. Apart from Foreign I’ve also founded WhiskyGrotto.com and Co-Founded PremierGoals.com. Thru the years, leadership and success has been important, but enjoying life, loyalty and sincerity is what drives me further. I consider my part in motivating adidas to let fairly small Foreign handle adidas global digital World Cup campaigns my proudest moment in business. The birth of my two daughters Ebba & Linn is my proudest moment in life.