I think that brands can be personified to represent human-like qualities.  Just as a person’s honesty reflects their integrity, a brand’s promise reflects their credibility.  Communication between brands and consumers creates a bond.  In order to keep this bond positive and create a loyal following, the intentions of the brand need to be honest and transparent. 

Tom Osdoba is the director for Sustainable Business Practices here at the university and uses transparency through public relations.  He connects the brand to the consumer and communicates the sustainable methods that the government, companies and people use.  The communication between these groups is crucial and he discussed the importance of how this affects the relationships between them.  Werbach discusses the need for transparency in advertising.  He mentioned while Skyping with the class that the focus should not be on the advertisement but on the actual product itself, for it to be sustainable.  It shows in the ad if the focus and passion is not directed toward the product and what the intentions are.  He referenced to what he calls “the North Star goal” as a guideline to always begin on the right track to achieve a message.  As one looks to the North Star for direction, this guideline assists to always ask what it is you are wanting, how to get it, and to observe trend changes.  His “Think Blue” mentality offers a broadened awareness to think beyond green, that there are more possibilities. 

Peter Lawrence came to our class and talked about product consistency as a way of transparency.  If a brand is promoting itself as using sustainable practices, it should follow those credentials across multiple areas.  In The Journal of Business & Design @issue: that he passed out to the class, the brand Pangea Organics is discussed as a product that is not sustainably made, but the packaging is 100% made of recyclable or biodegradable materials.  This consistency shows transparency in the fact that the brand is promoting a product that is sustainable as well as a lifestyle that recycles.  By being the leader of an innovative company, Kevin Tuerff knows the importance of transparency through his act of advocacy and social marketing.  He promotes this with his work on the awareness of Greenwashing and providing the Greenwashing Index, and with his focus to the public to know that change lies in the individual.  His “Pay it forward” demonstration is an example of being directly involved with promoting the “walking the walk” attitude he believes.  The transparency of his actions is crucial to his credibility and trust from the public.

            Bottom line; the advice of “don’t be an asshole” should be followed for multiple reasons.  Not only will it further someone down a positive road by radiating actual happiness and optimism, but it also will naturally contribute to a person’s transparency of being someone who is honest and reliable—not in it for themselves.


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