A recent article on Ad Age Digital spoke to the idea of creating a business model out of the principles of open transparency. We all know of the power of social and how it has turned business models upside down. In her article Esther Dyson quotes the promise and perils of transparency, “The public’s eye is on your business. Consumer expectations are rising. You now need to disclose not just what’s in your products but how you make them and treat the people you employ or subcontract. The need for — and costs of — responsiveness, even as lawyers tell you never to admit anything. The fact that the conversation will happen, with you or without you.”
Her business idea was basically utilizing QR codes that are placed on all merchandise that when scanned through your mobile, you would be sent information about that product from a consumer product wikipedia. The data would not be just the manufacturer’s ingredients, warranty policy, corporate statements and the like but also third-party ratings for carbon content, labor policies, nutritional quality, social correctness or even stylishness, as well as consumer reviews. This is not necessarily a new concept model (take amazon.com or the Remo General Store for instance), but how technology is expediting newer ways to do this.
What struck me was that the data could also deliver the people behind the products as well as influential information that may persuade people to consider that company for a career. This seems like a nice tactical way for employer brands to leverage the strength and frequency that their consumer brands may already have.
But why limit people to the process of QR codes where you have to download software to your phone. Why not use Image Recognition to help with the transaction. As of right now, you could basically take a picture of ANY CD cover or book with your camera phone, and send it to email@example.com to receive product information on that specific title.
Either way, we will start seeing more ways companies utilize the principles of open transparency as a competitive advantage rather than a deterrent to engage into true social media strategies.