Business Authenticity in a Transparent World

You have probably heard the phrase, often repeated as a Chinese proverb:  “May you live in interesting times.” But “interesting times” cut both ways: for good and for bad.

And all of us are living through the most interesting times for business communications since the invention of the printing press.

Why? Because anyone and everyone can spread their message by any media imaginable.

Why authenticity is no longer a business option

To stretch a metaphor, we have all become our own printing presses, our own spokespeople and our own televisions stations.  We are talking to one another across the planet about freedom and helping those in crisis.

So where’s the curse? Business authenticity is no longer an option. To have a voice, you must be who you say you are—because now we can all check. Claim to produce the most comfortable chair in the world? All of us can offer an opinion on that claim. We can write reviews. We can record and post customer service phone calls. We can make videos about how good or bad your chair really is and tweet it to people who say they’re in the market for one.

Companies can no longer put a message out there and just expect it to be believed. In a world of transparency, that which is tricky or slick is exposed or ignored.  It just becomes another bit of noise that needs to be filtered out.  When you understand this, you can see that authentic communication isn’t merely a useful tool or tactic.

It’s the only option.

 

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Lou Solomon

Lou Solomon is the founder of Interact. She is a TEDx speaker and a member of the adjunct faculty at the McColl School of Business at Queens University of Charlotte. Her articles have appeared in Harvard Business Review, Entrepreneur.com, CEO.com, and Fast Company.