TrendWatch: The Real Deal

in Strategy & Trends | by Ethan Lyon

In search of the real truth

By Ethan Lyon, Senior Writer

Definition
Transparency walks the divide between honesty and an unapologetic attitude in the search for the truth. Honesty can be salt in the wound or it can be a weight off your shoulders. Accepting both as reality is paramount to the transparency trend.

Spin
Honesty—Sweeping problems under the carpet or the hush hush mentality is no longer a viable game plan. Whistleblowers can pop-up anonymously from anywhere via the Internet and KO a company’s future. Consumers have been empowered by the Internet to become an informed community of buyers and influencers. With blogs and product reviews, consumers have direct communications with companies, both good and bad. Likewise, companies have an outlet to reach consumer ideas and concerns.
Real—Are we really worth the value of our bank accounts? Or the value of our cashmere sweater or posh Armani wing-tips? The transparency trend strips monetary value from our perceptions of others and lays-bare who we really are as people. Because we aren’t a BMW or bungalow in Hawaii; we’re more than our purchasing decisions; we’re a friend that will answer her phone at 3AM. The Internet has furthered this trend as it is truly the great “equalizer”.  Everyone has an equal say or chance to share his or her passion.

Examples
Paterson—Admitting to adultery and drug abuse was a wise move by the New York Governor, David Paterson. It was a move that possibly saved him from the fate of his predecessor, Governor Elliot Spitzer.
True Beauty—ABC is looking through the make-up with its new show called True Beauty (produced by Ashton Kutcher and Tyra Banks). Its aim is to not only figure out who is prettier, but to test the moral fiber of each of its ten contestants. Unbeknownst to them, they’re being judged on their shapely figures and moral decisions. The take-away: feeling bad about stealing from a friend is just as important as high cheek-bones.
Ideastorm—More than likely, the greatest minds probably don’t work for you. Harnessing the power of the many gives way to fresh perspective and ideas. The best ideas can really come from anywhere—not just in the R&D department. That’s why Dell created Ideastorm.com. Its purpose is to interface with its customers in an objective way. Users can post problems, concerns or kudos and have their suggestion ranked by others. The cream of the crop will be considered in Dell’s R&D department when designing new Dell products. Dell feels good because not only have they developed an honesty, caring brand image, but they’ve also gathered valued information researchers pour over in focus groups. From the consumer end, they’ve just taken part in a product they helped develop… for them, by them, via Dell.

Keywords
Clear, Honest, Responsible, Natural, Accountable, Real