A company's level of transparency directly and positively impacts sales, according to a report published by Pure Branding, Northampton, Mass.

The study, “ROI of Transparency: A Consumer Market Research Study,” distills feedback from more than 1,000 Americans about their attitudes, perceptions and sentiment on corporate transparency and transparency among the brands they purchase.

“Based on survey responses and analysis, it is clear that being perceived as transparent adds to a company's brand value. However, a company perceived as not transparent risks negative consequences," says Yadim Medore, founder and CEO. "No longer is it the case that transparency is a plus, and its absence merely a missed opportunity. Today, being perceived as non-transparent is actively damaging to a brand's reputation and a company's bottom line. If company leadership doesn't have a transparency strategy, they'll fall victim to competitors who do."

The 160-plus page report profiles varying degrees of transparent consumer personas based on the study's findings, and features data that shapes the corporate discussion of transparency.

A sampling of findings includes:

  • The industry with the highest perceived level of transparency.
    • Food and beverage companies are most likely to be perceived as transparent.
  • Brands lie.
    • 65% of respondents believe that most brands lie at least some of the time.
    • 54% believe the brands they currently purchase are not always honest.
    • 82% of respondents will forgive a brand that admits to mistakes.
  • Show the bad with the good.
    • More than a quarter (26%) of respondents believe that a transparent company openly engages with its public via social media and does not shy away from negative comments.
    • A significant contingent of Millennials (29%), as well as Gen Xers (28%), believe a transparent company should openly engage with negative comments on social media.
  • Can transparency lead customers to pay more for a product?
    • With 73% of study participants saying that transparency is valuable to them, a majority of consumers indicated that they were either more likely or very likely to pay extra for products from more transparent companies.

"All too often we meet marketing, sales, operations, human resources and legal professionals who are tasked with making their company more transparent, but they don't know where to start," adds Medore. "This report provides the insights needed to convince key stakeholders about the advantages of transparent practices, while giving company executives the information they need to prioritize the decision-making process."