Transparency is more than just a modern buzzword in business circles; it’s an essential tenet of consumer protection, corporate social responsibility, and business ethics. And, despite misconceptions, it can be roundly beneficial for all parties.
Consumers benefit from transparency through greater choice, access to resources and security. Businesses that push transparency benefit from increased loyalty and brand ambassadorship. And industries, on the whole, benefit from those empowered consumers and thriving companies.
The question then becomes: How do you bring transparency to traditionally opaque industries? Below, read more about various internal and external factors that precipitate transparency.
Antitrust Laws And Regulations
Let’s begin with an obvious external driver of industry transparency: antitrust laws and regulations. Antitrust laws are governmental statutes designed to protect consumers from predatory business practices. These practices include price fixing, monopolization and “deceptive acts” in marketing and sales – in other words, conventionally opaque business practices.
Similarly, transparency regulations attempt to define and codify certain businesses’ obligations to truthful presentation. (See: FCC requirements).
Short of being “anti-free market” or “bad for business,” these antitrust laws and regulations help create an environment of consumer confidence that promotes spending.
Top-down governmental policies aren’t the only way to bring transparency to opaque industries; companies operating within industries can have a positive impact.
Take, for example, Nobul – a platform that helps consumers choose the right real estate agent. The real estate digital marketplace cuts through industry price opacity, review manipulation and gatekept resources to deliver consumers a clear picture of their options.
According to CEO Regan McGee, the company “brings choice, accountability and transparency to an industry that has – for decades – been widely regarded by homebuyers as opaque and challenging.”
These consumer-centric marketplaces are ultimately good for businesses as they centralize consumers, making it easier for them to access services and products.
Consumer Education And Empowerment
Consumers can demand transparency through a process we colloquially call “voting with your wallet.” The only condition is that consumers need to be educated on their choices and empowered to make smart decisions.
Consumer education can happen in several contexts. In a formal context, it can (and often is) be built into school curriculum through home economics classes. In a more informal or specific way, companies can also spearhead consumer education and empowerment efforts by offering content like informational videos and blog posts.
Building Transparency Into Workplace Cultures
Finally, you can bring transparency to opaque industries starting at the internal level. By building transparency into corporate culture, companies highlight honesty in their core values. Internal transparency can include effective interdepartmental communication, shared sourcing and standardized employee training.
When a company commits itself to internal transparency, the shift often manifests in external, customer-facing policies as well. Employees understand the value of honesty and effective communication, and incorporate those values into consumer interactions. Incidentally, internal transparency can also help a business remain compliant.
Those are a few of the internal and external factors that drive transparency in industries. Together, they can have a positive effect on businesses and consumers.
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