Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sharp Stick of Transparency

Time and Money.

You can't spend one without saving the other.

Risk and Reward.

You can't have more of one without increasing the other.

These centuries-old truths serve us two sides of the same coin. Rest assured, these truths will still hold true long after we're all dead and gone.

Thanks to technology, the latest such double-sided truth to permanently enter our world is Transparency and Accountability. Like it or not, these values now walk hand-in-hand in our 21st century Digital Economy. Since the web has made broadcasters of us all, the illuminating light of transparency can be directed toward your personal or professional brand at anytime from anywhere. While this represents a potential loss of privacy it also demand a higher degree of public accountability.

Which may not be a bad thing if it exposes less-than-ethical business dealings.

It has become increasingly difficult to hide secretive and shady schemes under the glaring light of social media exposure. At one time, only traditional media could blow the whistle on shysters and slimeballs, but today anyone with a Facebook account can get into the act.

Never has a double-edged sword been so painfully sharp.

Case in point:

Noticed a posting the other day about a Moncton-based car dealership I have never done business with. The less-than-flattering article is now doing more damage than any full-page newspaper ad or 30-second radio spot can hope to repair. Just to get a sense of how accurate the article may be, I re-posted it on my own Facebook profile and was surprised to see the level of criticism and contempt it inspired.

Rodney LeBlanc:
As soon as I saw the heading...knew exactly which dealership was being mentioned. Have heard dirty tactics more than once...my uncle was a victim.
23 hours ago · Like

Glen Munro: The practice they have in place is disgusting
23 hours ago · Like

Sean Andrus: It's really happening here...not to me but to one of my old employees. She couldn't afford to lose the $500, was trying to reduce payments - instead she gained an extra $500 in credit card debt!
23 hours ago · Like

Roger Surette:
My wife bought a car from them about a year and a half ago and the service she has got since the purchase has been horrible!!! It seems that they are out for the money and not customer satisfaction...
22 hours ago · Like

Remi Boudreau: Just recently bought a car there and can't say enough about how frustrating the experience was... I'm good with numbers and knew aprox how much I should be paying monthly since I had the price of the vehicle and the cost of returning our ol...See More
19 hours ago · Like

Larry Busey:
I bought a car there. They screwed me over, too. All kinds of shady tactics, similar to when David Puddy yanked Seinfeld's insider deal. I've also heard numerous stories. This is not an isolated incident/issue.
13 hours ago · Like

Words and phrases like "victim", "frustrating" and "David Puddy" are not what the owners of any business have in mind when they think about how they're going to attract more business. The dealership in question serves as a great example of how every business needs to pay attention to what the Cluetrain Manifesto predicted as far back as 1999.

"All markets are conversations".

Here in Moncton, New Brunswick, this two-sided coin of transparency and accountability can force governments to clean up administrative messes made by bungling bureaucrats (as in the recent case of the Maeng family); or it can severely limit the number of customers who might otherwise be tempted (through advertising) to do business with your company. If its happening in Moncton, its happening everywhere.

Power - real power - has never been more in the hands of ordinary people.

Conversations are taking place whether you and I like it or not, but the word is getting out much louder and faster than ever before. And while it represents a potential loss of privacy does the higher degree of public accountability make it worth the trade?

How is your brand holding up under this level of scrutiny?

Can it withstand the sharp stick of truth that transparency demands?

"There is not a crime, there is not a dodge, there is not a trick, there is not a swindle, there is not a vice which does not live by secrecy"


P.S. ... Can you imagine it getting much worse than seeing your brand compared to David Puddy?

You can learn more about Gair's seminars and speaking programs at http://www.gairmaxwell.com/. In the meantime, his book, "NUTS, BOLTS AND A FEW LOOSE SCREWS" waits patiently for you at Chapters.ca and Amazon.com.

If you want the goods on The Seamless Brand and how this team can help sharpen your message and anchor your story, explore http://www.seamlessbrand.com/. You can also follow The Seamless Brand on Twitter - http://twitter.com/#!/seamlessbrand or press the "like" button and plug into The Seamless Brand on Facebook - http://ow.ly/3VW68


Ian Varty said...

Great blog, Gair. Tactful, poignant and timely.

Gair Maxwell said...

Thanks Ian ... always appreciate your feedback ...