Companies become more trustworthy when being honest and open, nothing new here. However new research shows that this is especially the case if they confess an unflattering truth. The study showed that companies received a higher rating for social responsibility when their statements contained a type of confession rather than no confession at all. The presence of a confession, in a racial equity statement for example, nearly doubled the perception of the organization’s social responsibility.
Showing you’re humane as a company—by not only showing the bright and the beautiful—is increasingly getting traction in society. It makes a company appear honest and more authentic. According to the researchers: “By confessing, companies admit to the worst but demonstrate transparency and explain how they plan to do better — in the process, bolstering that most valuable and fragile of reputational commodities, trust”.