Why transparency is the hidden key

Think about the last product you bought. Can you tell where it comes from? Do you know its life story? Probably not.

Most people wouldn’t know the origins of the products in their favourite stores. This applies to the food we buy, which can mean it’s difficult to make informed choices and shop in alignment with our values. On the plus side, there is a hidden opportunity for marketers.

All products have a unique story to tell – mostly one they can be proud of, but sometimes a less pleasant story. Either way, only a few stories actually get told. Wouldn’t it be great if, as a consumer, you had access to all these stories and information before you made a purchasing decision? It would certainly make it easier to feel good about what you buy.

What does this have to do with content marketing? As a marketer, you can use content to tell the story of how each product has found its way into the consumer’s shopping basket; map out every place, farm, ship and inspiring people these products have met along the way. Visualise, create and tell an inspiring story that will engage the buyer. A good story is always worth telling, and behind every genuine and well-made product there are passionate people, big-hearted producers and proud brand ambassadors. Use their words to make the story even more interesting and transparent.

A brand well known for mapping out the life story of its products is All American Clothing. After you buy a pair of jeans, you can track the journey they’ve been through, from the cotton farm, to the tailoring, to the shop. Knowing the life story of the product adds value in many ways.

Another brand doing this is Patagonia. It has collected a lot of information about its suppliers, farms and distribution channels and has created a website for its sustainable supply chain and Patagonia’s Footprint Chronicles.

This type of content enables transparency and helps to build deeper relationships between brands and consumers.

Remember McDonald’s Australia’s app, TrackMyMacca’s, which was launched last year and ran for six months? It gave customers the ability to track the ingredients in some of the chain’s most popular burgers. For a company that’s come through various food scandals, this effort to act transparently can be seen as a way to try to repair and prevent damaged relationships and to build trust with its customers.

If your brand has nothing to hide, you have everything to gain.