Recently I was working on a promotional project and proposed some copy for a related webpage that would notify the target audience that there were some unfavorable conditions related to the promotion (hurdles to jump over to make use of it).
The response I got was “but why would we want to tell them those things – won’t that make them less likely to commit?”
Gut check moment – your response to that question may indicate a great deal about your perspective:
- UNFAZED: If you agree with the line of logic implied by that question (that unfavorable details should be hidden from one’s audiences) – you’re not prepared for the Age of Radical Transparency we’re currently in.
- HORRIFIED: If your mouth fell open at hearing that reply – you get it.
The answer is “yes” – but it’s the right thing to do, and in the long run – it’s the most effective because being honest with your publics builds the trust that is so scarce nowadays.
Deception by omission is still deception. Just ask Facebook, BP, the Japanese Government, Sony, State Prison Administrators, or a million other entities that tried to let unpleasant details go unmentioned and were rightly slapped around by the public for their attempts to deceive the public.
People aren’t pissed at Sony because the PS3 network got hacked (sooner or later that happens to everyone) – they’re pissed at Sony because they dragged their feet letting their customers *know* they got hacked.
Audiences nowadays have a pretty well-developed sense of fair play, and they’re not hesitant about vocalizing their outrage when something that SHOULD have been disclosed to them is not.