Emergence of the Honest Economy

Community Blogs 9 juillet 2014 Par Martin Yan Staff

There is a strong narrative emerging in the marketplace. Increasingly, companies are offering a more "behind-the-scenes" look into their organizations. Corporate social media pages are adopting personas to help bridge the gap between product and consumer. Commercials are featuring more real-life stories and individuals instead of actors. In this era of the honest economy (a term coined by Marcus Sheridan), companies have learned it pays to appear more authentic to consumers.

One might suppose it all started back in 2008, when the global economy tanked. It is easy to measure the losses by the numbers. Large corporations and businesses bled billions of dollars overnight, and thousands of jobs were cut. But something more than just figures was lost.

Whatever trust and goodwill from the general public was no longer assumed. There was a general distrust of huge conglomerates, and people called for the responsible parties to be held accountable for their greed and unscrupulous practices, as evidenced by the Occupy movements and WikiLeaks scandals. Consumers spent less and grew more cautious in their investments. What they were looking for went beyond the thin, professionally-polished veneer. What it boiled down to was a call for transparency. 

Many corporations have since stepped up to the challenge. In equal parts efforts to rebuild their businesses and restore public image, companies have started candid dialogues with consumers. In the honest economy, the players who appear the most transparent about their business are the ones winning the most customers. Vendors like McDonald's started listing the calorie count for each of their burgers and meals. CarMax created a system with thorough reports and fact-checks. Even non-profits have followed suit—charity: water aims to show you exactly where every penny of your donation is going.

In similar fashion, Liferay strives to keep the doors open to the community. As an open source product, Liferay Portal is built on the premise that there is no secret sauce. The product built by the engineers is shipped into the community to download, consume, and enhance on their own. As a business that is ever-evolving, Liferay seeks to collaborate and create a dependable product that could impact your realm of business.

Is your business striving to be transparent in the way it conducts business or sells its products? If not, see this as an opportunity to start a clear line of communication with your audience. As the marketplace continues to evolve, the language that will most resonate with consumers is not one of slickness but authenticity. 


Liferay: Nerd On The Street is a blog devoted to sharing new ideas about business and technology. To continue the discussion, post comments below or email martin.yan@liferay.com.

The Portrait of Your Business on a Busy Canvas

Community Blogs 14 octobre 2013 Par Martin Yan Staff

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." - Pablo Picasso
My job as a marketer has never been more fun and challenging. The conversation in the marketplace has evolved drastically since I started my career three years ago. Whereas advertising was once considered a direct line for a company to pitch to consumers, effective marketing nowadays involves thoughtful and engaging dialogue between both parties. In essence, it is a call for marketers to be storytellers. 
It is apparent that with the advent of social media and the continual innovation of technology, our worlds are becoming smaller and running faster. With all the noise out there, there is a need to rise above. Is it enough to present a product that features "this many tools out of the box" and "that compatibility with (blank) server?" In a crowded marketplace, companies are asked to be more than just a product offering--or risk sounding the same as everyone else.
Stories are important because they help us to genuinely connect with one another. It is a form of art that is unique because no one person or brand's story is the same. In his speech at Inbound 2013, Seth Godin stressed how art and creativity in business is needed now more than ever before. "Connection is made through art because no one wants to connect with someone who is doing exactly what they were doing yesterday," he said. "This is how you earn connections in the new economy." 
The companies that understand this are the ones excelling in this new age of marketing. They are weaving together pictures, words, and sounds to create personalities that make their brand come alive. Chipotle did this recently with one of their campaigns. In a short animated video, they were able to share their vision of better farming practices and to effectively stand for something. The idea is that the next time you purchase a meal from their chain, you aren't just buying a burrito, but also making a statement about what you believe in and how you are supporting a greater cause. Companies and brands that are doing this, creating meaningful narratives, are distinguishing themselves from the rest and quickly rising to the top.
So, how are you contributing to your company's greater story? What are you doing in your role to create a culture of creativity, innovation, and art? Take some time to reflect about how you can contribute to the broader narrative. If you are willing to engage and delight your audience, chances are they will reciprocate and be more inclined to give back to you. 
After all, in this day and age, it pays to be an artist.
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