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Honesty ROI: How to be Transparent & True

May 4, 2009


Paull Young mentioned in our May 4th lecture that, “If you deceive someone, you’ve lost them forever.” This statement holds true for both personal relationships as well as business interactions involving clients and possible consumers. And in order to be transparent and authentic, it is important that you aren’t fake when using word of mouth marketing. In fact, many believe that you will get caught if you lie or are deceitful, especially in social media. Instead, any company who truly cares about effective and ethical use of social media and word of mouth marketing should be honest and follow the ethics policies created by Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA). WOMMA has revised their ethics guidelines that cover some of the best practice ethics for word of mouth marketing.

The core concept of the ethics code is the Honesty ROI. This stands for:

* Honesty of Relationship: You say who you’re speaking for.

* Honesty of Opinion: You say what you truly believe.

* Honesty of Identity: You say who you are and never falsely identify yourself.

This ethics code is good to live by when talking or writing about anything, whether or not it is your company. Trust is too valuable to play around with and you should not put trust at risk.

An example used to go against this concept was the YouTube video, “are you my man in the jacket?” This video was unethical and wrong because the paid actress did not disclose that she was working for Witchery Man. However, I was curious as to what the company did once the backlash of this video was felt. It turns out that “Heidi Clarke,” the blonde model whose real name is Lily, “came clean” by releasing a second YouTube video “Man in the jacket” that tells all. She confesses that she is an actress, was employed by Witchery Man, and that, “Yes [she] even managed to get [her] face on national tv.”

This confession was necessary because it showed that the company was ready to come clean and was ready to be transparent about their ad campaign. While they lost some business, they did what was needed after a dishonest mistake.

Cassie Williams

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 6, 2009 7:49 am

    Good post mate! Glad I got you thinking.

    There’s been a lot of chatter about the Witchery example in Australia, just last week it was the focus of a meeting of the Sydney Social Media Club.

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