The biggest misconception is that brand perfection is necessary before honesty is a valid brand strategy. Yet ask any couple that’s been married for 30 years and they’ll tell you this: being honest does not mean being perfect. In brand parlance, it simply means truthfully communicating the challenges being faced, and then putting in the legwork to address those challenges.
A few brands can be applauded for their approach to honesty, while some have considerable work to do. This month, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream (a company owned by Unilever) successfully joined the socially responsible B Corporation movement, and in doing so has made its full B Impact Assessment and governing documents visible to the public. In the retail world, footwear company Timberland is mapping its progress in improving factory conditions. It’s a great example of a brand that’s not perfect, but working to make changes.