Dia Art Foundation

For the most successful brands of today — you know, the ones that inspire genuine enthusiasm and real deal, on-the-ground evangelists who tell their friends how amazing your product is — transparency is what really separates the YES-PLEASES from the has-beens.


Here’s three things we can say for sure:

1. Share because they care

Today, we (we’re speaking as real, in-the-flesh Millennials and Gen Z peeps here) expect a level of “share fluency” — a naturalness and realness to communication from brands. More and more, we value communicating with a brand beyond the confines of buying and selling. There’s a lot to buy these days and we want it to feel good — so it makes sense that we want to feel like brands are building a relationship with us as individuals. We simply want to be seen, and we want to feel good about the brands we support. It’s no wonder that sharing user + customer created content is one of the biggest trends in social media right now.

Levi’s Instagram

2. Let them help you help yourself

Inclusion within your process and communicating directly with fans let’s consumers experience transparency. Bonus: It also helps build community and increases engagement. On social media, brands that engage with followers, repost consumer created content, and answer questions attract more followers (Millennials and Gen Z are twice as likely to follow brands on social media than baby boomers, and 1 in 3 will go to a competitor if a brand doesn’t engage) and increase engagement. Brands need to harness a true identity that runs through every aspect of their business and then let us into the mix.

3. They call bullsh*t

Consumers are more savvy and familiar with the nuances of marketing and communication than ever before. In other words, talk to and with us, never at us. Our bullshit radars are seriously on point, and we’ll hold you to it. It’s called google and their girlfriends — they know EVERYTHING.


Brooke Cagle —