In today’s world, most consumers think brands lie—and now more than ever, a company’s level of transparency directly impacts sales. New research from market research and brand development agency Pure Branding explores consumer attitudes and perceptions on corporate transparency, and the scale of transparency among the brands they purchase.

“Based on survey responses and analysis, it is clear that being perceived as transparent adds to a company’s brand value. However, a company perceived as not transparent risks negative consequences. No longer is it the case that transparency is a plus, and its absence merely a missed opportunity,” said Yadim Medore, founder and CEO of Pure Branding, in a news release.

“Today, being perceived as non-transparent is actively damaging to a brand’s reputation, and a company’s bottom line,” he added. “If company leadership doesn’t have a transparency strategy, they’ll fall victim to competitors who do.”

The firm’s new study, ROI of Transparency: A Consumer Market Research Study, features specialized market insights for the clothing and apparel, dietary supplements, food and beverage and personal care industries. The 160+ page report profiles varying degrees of transparent consumer personas based on the study’s findings, and features data that shapes the corporate discussion of transparency.

A sampling of findings includes:

The industry with the lowest perceived level of transparency…

  • …is Congress—only 5 percent of respondents perceive Congress as transparent.
  • On the flip side, personal care companies, food and beverage companies and technology companies are most likely to be perceived as transparent.

Brands lie

  • 65 percent of respondents believe that most brands lie at least some of the time.
  • 54 percent believe the brands they currently purchase are not always honest.
  • 82 percent of respondents will forgive a brand that admits to mistakes.

Show the bad with the good

  • More than a quarter (26 percent) of respondents believe that a transparent company openly engages with its public via social media and does not shy away from negative comments.
  • A significant contingent of Millennials (29 percent), as well as Gen Xers (28 percent), believe a transparent company should openly engage with negative comments on social media.

Can transparency lead customers to pay more for a product?

  • With 73 percent of study participants saying that transparency is valuable to them, a majority of consumers indicated that they were either more likely or very likely to pay extra for products from more transparent companies.

“All too often we meet marketing, sales, operations, human resources and legal professionals who are tasked with making their company more transparent, but they don’t know where to start,” continued Medore. “This report provides the insights needed to convince key stakeholders about the advantages of transparent practices, while giving company executives the information they need to prioritize the decision-making process.”

The report is available for purchase here.

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