What does “transparency” really mean?

Social media management software company Sprout Social recently surveyed 1,000 consumers to gauge their perspectives on the role of transparency in today’s marketplace.

Among Millennials, the study found that they ranked brands – over even politicians – as the primary group they’d like to see more transparency from. If we’re being honest, it’s probably because they see politicians as lost causes but view corporations as having a glimmer of hope.

So what does this mean? They probably aren’t asking for CEO medical records or birth certificates. But they want honesty. Authenticity. Really, anything that doesn’t smell like advertising.

This is a very clear differentiation in content strategy. Where business social channels have traditionally been driven only by a traditional marketing strategy (products, placements, promotions), this has very quickly become white noise. Consumers are attracted to – and often expect – personalization, constructive content, and storytelling from real people doing real things in real time.

We’ve found approaching social from the same story-first philosophy that drives our employee engagement, executive platforms, recruitment campaigns, media relations, change management communications and corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs allows us to begin with deeply understanding who we are trying to reach, and then nuance that messaging to speak from the purpose and mission that drives the heart of the company.

We don’t call it gimmick media, or virtual media, or youngster channels. We call it social. So is it? Is it the humanist, most relational way you communicate?