Transparency: Harder Than It Looks

In today’s social world, transparency is a virtue. Or at least, it should be.

Of course, it’s difficult for a business who has been operating without transparency for decades to open up its private practices to the public. And even when they make a good attempt to be more transparent, what’s under the kimono can be rather ugly.

I noticed this trend in a few links that have been passed around the web recently.

  1. McDonald’s Canada Shows Why Their Food Looks Better in Photos

    Valiant effort, but it begs the question: why does your food need such a complex photographic process in order to look decent? Why would you want such a big disconnect between the actual product and its image in marketing?

  2. Morgan Stanley on Twitter

    Morgan Stanley has made a move that sounds brave: they are allowing their 18,000 financial advisors to tweet. However, instead of providing the FAs with general guidelines on dos-and-donts for Twitter, they have literally prescribed only a small set of “pre-approved” tweets, thereby making the conversation simultaneously boring and pointless.

    Further reading: The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Wire.

Transparency, done properly, is more than just a change in communications; it is a change in the way a company does business. Opening up Twitter or publishing an explanatory video doesn’t counteract the opaque, non-sensical processes of the old world.