In an age of unprecedented accountability, it’s in everyone’s self-interest to be open and honest.
The level of information available to consumers now is unrecognisable to where it was 25 years ago. What once was opaque is now much more open to view, most notably in terms of a company’s employment practices and supply chain. Yes, there is still much further to go, but there seems little evidence that the transparency agenda will suddenly wane. In fact, people’s appetite for the truth seems keener with each passing year, and we are seeing this manifested in everything from the number of historical inquiries regarding past injustices, to our growing knowledge about health and income disparities, to consumer review and price comparison sites, to the recent surge in ACLU membership, to what political candidates such as Nuttall and Snell tweeted or posted when (bizarrely) they thought no-one was looking.
Despite some garish headlines, it is unlikely that standards of truth are falling. Instead, our expectations of transparency are rising. This has to be good news for brands and companies who are doing the right thing by their staff, their communities and their customers. These are the brands that are now setting the agenda, these are the brands that can hold their heads high when predators come knocking and tell them where to get off. These are the brands that tend to be launced out of our industry by our brightest and best (on which note, good luck to Halo, may you be another Innocent – interesting use of vocabulary in both cases).
The reason for my confidence isn’t because I think the world’s becoming more virtuous. It clearly isn’t. The reason for my confidence is that, in an age of unprecedented accountability, it’s in everyone’s self-interest to be open and honest. This is the most competitive strategy. And, where openness coincides with self-interest, truth will flourish.
Charles is a brand strategist who began his advertising apprenticeship at Burkitt’s, working subsequently at BBH and WCRS. In 2002 he decided to start working for himself and, along with his three partners (Rooney Carruthers, Adrian Coleman and Ian Priest), set up VCCP. Their founding client was O2, to whom they are eternally grateful. Over the last two decades, Charles has worked on and, in some cases, helped launch a diverse range of brands including O2, ING, Hiscox, easyJet, Canon, Cadbury, Domino's, Dyson, Nationwide, and Vitality.
Outside of work Charles doggedly pursues a variety of sports including cricket, tennis, football, golf, shooting and snooker, all at a consistently low standard. Charles is a Trustee for both The Change Foundation and The Fred Foundation and is co-author of a book called The Branded Gentry.