Topic of the day: Transparency

So, as posted in the title, the topic of the day for my blog is transparency. On that note, I think we can all guess what’s coming….a cat with mittens? No! Another fabulous case study! (good guess though).

kittenmittens

Here’s a link to a blog that talks about 8 different case studies and the power of listening to social media.

I’m going to focus on study number 7, about Toyota, since I have a personal interest. (Love my Yaris). I think we can all remember back to the Toyota recall controversy with their faulty braking systems. And on top of this nightmare, Toyota was late with announcing such recalls to the public. So what do you do now? Either the company can apologize publicly, or wait for things to blow over. Toyota did one better, and launched a large transparency and apology campaign via social media. Nowadays, social media marketing and public relations go hand in hand. Although most big companies still have to have a press release when bad stuff goes down, taking to your social media platforms as soon as it happens is the best way to get your word out fast. Toyota held Q&A sessions on Twitter and Digg, created a microsite about the recall, and posted YouTube videos that included more information, just to name a few actions.

According to the blog article, Toyota’s Facebook pages saw a 10% increase in their fan base, and they had an increase in sales that year.  Although these metrics can’t be directly linked to the campaign, it seems Toyota was successful in renewing customer trust and loyalty to their brand. And going forward, I’m sure they’ve learned their lesson of the great recall of 2010 and will be more transparent in the future.

So how much transparency is enough? I think the best way to answer this question is to ask another question, and that’s if your customers would want to know and can they gain value from it? Would your customers want to know if their brakes are faulty? Yes. Would they want to know about a new leasing promotion? Sure. How about a recent donation to a charity? Maybe. What goes on in the staff kitchen at lunch time? Probably not.

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