I've noticed a trend in corporate marketing towards a transparent/ethical company image. Most notable is Google and their unofficial 'do no evil' motto. As i've mentioned in a previous article, gaining so much trust is potentially hazardous in the long term but for the time being, we as consumers are benefiting from their ethical attitude.
Even if the companies preach openness and honesty without actually practising it, they are publicly acknowledging that it is important and other companies will start to notice. The food and beverage industry still thrives on the 'cash cow consumer' approach to marketing but the financial industry for instance, is steeped devious dealings and an image of honesty can be especially beneficial to banks, insurance companies, etcetera.
On the local front, there are two financial institutions that have come to my attention, who have taken to transparent marketing with full force; Capitec Bank and MiWay Insurance. Both Capitec and MiWay have their transparency commitments on their sites (commitment for Capitec, commitment for MiWay). Sure you can find something like this on almost every company's site, the difference here is that they are running with it in radio and TV ads which means firstly that they will be held to their word and secondly, as i mentioned above, competitors will take note.
Google has proven to me that an ethical business model can actually be lucrative and with generations growing up with marketing bombardment, people are not as naive as perhaps they once were. Transparent marketing can transform a company image from a money making machine to a viable organisation with fair offerings.