Revisiting VRM

Back in 2008, Tim Wilson and I gave a presentation on the brand impact of Transparency in Amsterdam. The presentation...

March 7, 2012

Back in 2008, Tim Wilson and I gave a presentation on the brand impact of Transparency in Amsterdam.

The presentation described a move from brand opacity (hiding knowledge to build brand premiums) through translucency (offering sneak peeks to support brand story telling), to fully-fledged transparency (a free and open information exchange with stakeholders).

Transparency is a founding principle of RightSideUp (RSU) thinking and the most critical enabler of social markets.

But actually the relationship between RSU and transparency goes even deeper. There’s a two-way relationship going on here.

Transparency is both enabled by VRM (which restores information and social symmetry between individuals and institutions) but it also drives the need for VRM, as any remaining asymmetries stand out like beacons of inequity, demanding ever more efficient matching services on behalf of the individual.

In principle, at least, this will create a virtuous circle of ever more transparent and trustworthy relationships.

Transparent individuals want transparent products which match their precise needs and social context.

But such richly transparent products can only be produced by transparent organisations which share their product backstory, seeking to combine both brand principles and supply-web production processes.

Inevitably though, transparent organisations’ self interest lies in creating transparent markets where their true stories can be selected over their rivals’ over-bundled half-truths and obfuscations.

Closing the systems loop, these transparent markets are the ones in which social and information democracy prevail – in which individuals are enabled to both share and benefit from their personal assets – the underlying principles of VRM.

RightSideUpness is thus embedded at the centre of the Transparency system and the Transparency system is, to my mind, an inevitability.

Make no mistake. Transparency is already here. We are seeing  a proliferation of stakeholder to stakeholder, stakeholder to enterprise and enterprise-wide ‘mutual marketing’ tools to make it work for us not against us.

Back in 2008 I suggested the next decade will be a race between Microsoft/Google vs Oracle/SAP to provide the infrastructure for a see-through world.

I had not foreseen the exponential rise of Facebook.  And more importantly I had not foreseen the open economy which is created by micro-applications operating to common interoperability protocols, with personal data-sharing at their heart.

In 2008 I suggested ‘Find’ would be the new killer app.  This was a glib expression of a deeper truth, that merely identifying information would be trivial but that the productivity of insight is what drives progress.  This is a function of the trust of social networks and of the decision flows they share.

From supply-chain cleansing to product innovation and customer mediation, all multi-stakeholder processes depend upon trust in the quality, integrity and linkage of decision-making. Shared, transparent decisionflow is the metaprocess that underpins mutual accountability.

Data and decisions; decisions and data. These are the building blocks of brand integrity.

Tagged as: decisionflow



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