A day for openness and transparency

A while back, one of the planners I work with – Sean – had a great idea (he does that a lot – a nice quality). image via matsiltala

We’d been talking about the growing demand for transparency in marketing and business, and that while many marketers today see the need for it, at the same time many companies struggle with knowing just what to do about it.

Sean thought it would be cool if a few companies picked a day, and invited their customers in to see some part of their business behind the scenes – the factory floor, the R&D lab, the headquarters. He called it “Take Your Customer To
Work Day.” Last summer he wrote a blog post about it, which proceeded to get a lot of positive response, including a nod from no less than Seth Godin.

Since then there have been a few high-profile initiatives that have done just this. The most notable was last summer’s P&G‘s Mommy Blogger event, where the Pampers brand team invited 15 bloggers to tour their Cincinatti headquarters, hear about new products, talk about their needs, and weigh in on the current state of marketing. It was an exercise in transparency that had some risk to it, but by all accounts was fun for all involved, and got P&G both some great learning and some great press.

Given the positive feedback and the successful examples, we’ve decided to go ahead try to do it.

Thursday May 28 2009 will be the inaugural “Take Your Customer To Work Day.”

Full details are here.

Several brands have already jumped on board, including Zappos (of course…), SteamWhistle Beer, and Beck Tench. We’re issuing an open call for other companies to come along for the ride and bring their customers in house for the day. And we’re asking any company who participates to document it, and we’ll collect all the stories, photos, and videos and create some interesting content with it.

Huge kudos to Sean for coming up with the idea, and taking the initiative to actually get this thing going.

So talk to your clients and partners, and help spread the word. Let’s get some momentum behind this thing.

Who’s in?

Published by jasonoke

Global Client Leader, WPP Married to @meredithoke. I have some kids. I travel. I eat. I internet.

2 thoughts on “A day for openness and transparency

  1. I know that maybe 20 years ago you go on tours of large companies that would do the exact same thing, open their doors and floors for the public. I’m not sure what changed overtime that created the closed climate today, but maybe companies thought it was costing them time and money and that the end result wasen’t worth it? I think its also cultural. In europe people can tour active steel mills where there is less paranoia about manufacturing processes (that is the excuse given here), and if you look at Japan, they have their storm water sewer diversion system (GCANS) open for public tours. The only car manufacturing plant I know of in North American that actually gives tour inside the plant is Toyota here in Cambridge. Its definitely cultural, maybe these companies could learn from this Japanese model? Its time companies got back into such ‘initiatives’ instead of just focusing on traditional advertising.

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