Tactical Transparency

Public Relations practitioner and guru Shel Holtz discusses why companies need to be transparent.  


Tactical transparency is using new social media in order to be honest.  Transparency and authenticity gives readers a sense of openness to your practices, business decisions, and the factors in making those business decisions.  Most importantly, transparency makes your leaders and employers accessible.   

John C. Havens, co author of the book Tactical Transparency with Shel Holtz, interviews Kenny Tomlin, President & CEO of Rockfish Interactive, an agency based in Bentonville, AR but with an international reach. An entrepreneur as well as new media maven, Kenny also created a Coffee and other companies as well.

Below is the interview from  blogtalkradio

Interview with Kenny Tomlin on Tactical Transparency and Authenticity 

Kenny Tomlin began his digital agency three years ago. Rockfish started as marketing and advertising agency and now deals with large clients like Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart’s micro site campaign, Eleven Moms, was successful by seeing real conversation. Wal-Mart and Patentee teamed up to launch their new improved hair shampoo. Eleven Moms were given an unmarked hair product and told to write about their experience, positive or negative.  Wal-Mart’s Eleven Moms micro site provided tools to their suppliers in real time. Tomlin continues in saying that social media campaigns are sometimes “grand slams” when customers can be engaged and participate with the company. A great social media campaign doesn’t guarantee a great product. Companies always are taking a risk in these new social media tools. By having this micro blog, customers writes about how they feel about a product or company and gives readers a chance to openly express their opinion. The company can make changes or has the option to makes changes to better the company. Rockfish has just focused more on customers, making companys a chance to be more competitive. 



Rick Clancy, the senior VP of corporate communications at Sony Electronics, talks about how transparency is the essential to their thriving blog.  Sony’s first tag line, Sony no bologna, truly represents what transparency and authenticity mean. With the blog, Sony was able to build trust, relationships, and dialogue with consumers.

Devils advocate

Matthew Creamer article called “You call this transparency? They can see right through you” discusses how Wal-Mart suffered a embarrassing situation with its attempt to open its PR “war room” to a writer from The New Yorker. The resulting piece was a chronicle of the Wal-Mart’s PR staff’s barely disguised disdain for the author’s existence. Even worse have been high-profile missteps such as Sony and Wal-Mart attempts to useto create the sheen of openness, blatant manipulations of the very tools of transparency.

Picture of Wal-Mart's fake blog      

“The trend line is definitely toward transparency,” said Dan Gillmor, director of the Center for Citizen Media. “Some companies will do it earnestly; others will fake it.”

Being honest will truly set you free. Posting fake comments will only destroy a company reputation and image. Being authentic and transparent advances corporations and organizations in many ways. Social media allows this flow two way of information makes companies aware the negative so the company can react or the positive to continues their process.