When it comes to strategic B2B and B2C relationships, transparency is the key to good public standing and unparalleled loyalty to your brand. Technology allows us to not just be receivers of information, but providers and contributors as well. This amazing development is the reason we have greater access to public opinion and instantaneous updates of current events with video footage from at least ten different viewing angles. Yet, it comes with its risks as well. In the current epidemic of fake news and corruption, consumers and business are left wondering where their trust can safely lie.

Your company’s ability to deliver clear messages and live up to them will give you great advantage in the long run. Here are a few things to keep in mind as transparency takes its rightful spot at the forefront of your strategic plan.

Transparency Creates Brand Loyalty

The need for transparency is great in our vibrant, social, connected world. With anything and everything just a click away, people feel an increasing need to have access to details and information. While it may seem an inconvenience at times, brand loyalty is one of the amazing results of this kind of honest communication.

When your consumers know what you stand for and how you engage with them, they can safely form ties with, follow and promote your brand. According to Forrester, 54% of social media users who engage with brands have already purchased a product in the past year. It’s this kind of engagement and communication that allows consumers to feel linked to your brand and motivated to utilize your product.

Preemptive Transparency

A common mistake made among companies and corporations is coming clean about a policy, practice or error after the fact. Audiences respond with more hostility when events such as this occur. Samsung’s recent financial scandal left them frantically tying up loose ends and releasing statements promising better communication and transparency in the future. The old saying “don’t ask permission, ask forgiveness” loses credibility in the application of transparency.

Transparency integrated into your business plan from the beginning will save you and your clients from unpleasant surprises. Clients and consumers will thank you for being open in your communication and be more willing to forgive when things occasionally turn south.

Maintaining Balance

With so much information available to consumers, it’s important to remember what is and is not appropriate to share. As we progress in this technological age, it is becoming the norm to reveal information that used to be private—salaries, tax information, etc. Information that would harm the business, relationships or individuals need not be on public display. But remember that transparency can include explaining that some of the company’s material will not be disclosed at the time. The key is to find a balance between transparency with the public and keeping reasonably confidential information within the walls of the company.

As transparency is such a buzz word today, companies must be aware of how they are handling this element of their strategic plan. Honoring the consumers’ desire for transparency promotes brand loyalty—especially when applied before any unexpected events occur. Show respect for your company and consumers by being be open about the fact that you will not disclose certain information. Employing transparency as a vital tool will secure your customers and bring with it a merit of success.