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PR and marketing 'benefits from transparency'


Rory Fletcher of Cohn and Wolfe Corporate Affairs suggested that the levels of scrutiny being placed on UK businesses are unprecedented and should encourage marketing directors to change their approach, especially if they wish to avoid being criticised in the public eye.

"Our research, carried out by ICM, revealed that after quality and price, business transparency is now the third most important factor influencing consumer purchasing decisions," he explained.

This means that in addition to the obvious moral imperative towards transparency and honesty in business, companies that do not meet the public's requirements could be hit where it hurts - on the bottom line.

Writing in PR Week, Mr Fletcher declared that "for companies and brands, it is no longer acceptable - or good business - for public affairs programmes to be separated from other areas of communication".

The unprecedented level of scrutiny created by tools such as Twitter makes it easier than ever before for the public to become aware of inconsistencies in how a brand markets itself and in how it actually acts, meaning marketers need to weed out these problems before an advertisement reaches completion.

"Recognising we are operating in an age of transparency, where internal emails could ultimately be subject to public scrutiny, leads to four simple steps needed to act authentically," Mr Fletcher concluded.

These are being aware that any lobbying strategy will face a degree of public scrutiny and preparing for that, planning to explain the core of a company's specific business interests, keeping corporate and public affairs aligned, and be explicit about any objectives an organisation has rather than trying to conceal them.

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