Field Notes on Brand Building

April 5, 2022

This Month’s Theme:

Brand Transparency

Why it Matters:

Who’s Doing It Well:

Best-in-class: Patagonia

Transparent Practices:

Brands can show their trustworthiness by showing how they’re keeping their promises to consumers.

Honest Storytelling:

Just like being honest about business practices, being honest about shortcomings, pain points or taboos can also build empathy with consumers.


Social can be a great place for some added exposure:


What It Could Look Like for Land O’Lakes:

  • Consumers who aren’t agricultural experts may need more context to understand the forces that inform brand actions. Engaging lessons taught through videos, games, or other interactive experiences could help them see the significance behind Land O’Lakes’ practices.
  • Q&As with farmer-owners or the C-suite give consumers a chance to speak their piece and get answers to the things that matter most to them.
  • Different tracking or visualization tools could help consumers trace dairy products back to their respective farms and farmer-owners. 
  • Showing just how directly consumers’ dollars go to supporting farmers could give proof to our cooperative philosophy in interesting and engaging ways.

Parting Thoughts:

  • Transparency is beneficial when brands are intentional, self-aware, and accountable. Know the boundaries of where you let people in, and the topics you’re willing to expose in full, so you don’t expose too much.
  • Part of being a highly-transparent brand means heightened accountability, otherwise, the brand risks appearing performative or disingenuous. It’s important to remember that commitment often requires investment.
  • The benefit of transparency can help build consumers’ trust to strengthen perceptions in the brand’s empathy and ethics, especially in ways that increase profits and brand loyalty.
  • Brands don’t have to show consumers its whole hand to be transparent. While it’s important to be aware and intentional when taking consumers behind the scenes, talking about small wins they can own and goals they’re committed to working towards can help brands manage the amount of exposure they create.