As of the month of November 2013, JP Morgan Bank was in turmoil and on the news because it was investigated criminally for its role in manipulating the market conditions in the global economy. Somebody in the marketing department chose to expose JP Morgan for some intended publicity–but it was a disaster.
The tweet read, “What career advice would you ask a leading exec at a global firm? Tweet a Q using #AskJPM. On 11/14, a $JPM leader takes over @JPMorgan.”
A hashtag called #AskJPM has been invented with the intention to make JP Morgan serve as a source of information for legitimate questions by the general public. The company was fined more than $1 billion just a few months earlier for its “London Whale” and then reached a $13 billion settlement with the Department of Justice the month prior to the famous tweet about mortgages that were not as good. JP Morgan was in need of a facelift, and its tweet was insensitive to the fury inflicted on it.
The bank came under public ridicule on social media after consumers confronted them about their suspect business methods. A few of the responses on the JP Morgan tweet included this one “Did you always wish to join a massive criminal organization that is corrupt, and were you able to “break into bad”?” Also, “When Jamie Dimon eats babies, are they served rarely? I understand anything above medium-rare is considered gauche.”
Transparency Is Not for Everyone
Transparency can be beneficial for businesses. However, if you’re caught stuck in a branding mess or controversy, or if there were adverse reports concerning your business (that may be real), it’s not something you’d like to do is shine the spotlight on that Achilles heel. The first step is to spend time considering the potential benefits and possible risks.
For JP Morgan, that tweet put them in the spotlight of public scrutiny that they already were since it seemed to the general public that they were just covering up things that were on mind for people. At the time, JP Morgan made the tweet to engage with the audience on Twitter, and there was a great deal of public outrage against the firm.
When Transparency Doesn’t Work
The story of JP Morgan illustrates transparency could backfire. It doesn’t just happen in the midst of outrage over a brand. It can also happen at other places in business.
Before you can bake the idea, if you’re selling consultancy services, for example, you’ll want to deliver at the highest level and also be a valuable customer. But, one of the most common mistakes made in the area of transparency is to deliver too early after you’ve had a chance to think about the idea in depth. Sometimes, however much you’d prefer to give your client details and information regarding the beginning phases of the work you’re working on, it might be better to hold off and provide the entire menu with all the components at a later date. If you are presenting a concept that’s not fully elaborated, they may make decisions based on their initial impressions (not having the complete picture), And you’ll then go back to drawing.
The blame game can lead to distrust. In a Harvard Business Review article on Transparency, the authors pointed out an example of how excessive transparency can have negative consequences. One Dutch energy provider was transparent and strict regarding its procedures for handling hazardous waste. A few days later, the security department of the company, which was the one who created the guidelines and rules, was discovered dead after being in violation of the guidelines he had formulated. The company was then able to concentrate almost entirely in the event that he’d violated the rules instead of examining the reasons or the reason why it might be the case. The other employees felt that the company was trying to focus on blaming the victim instead of learning more nuanced information regarding the circumstances. The moral of the employees fell, and distrust in the company grew.
The consequences of radical transparency. In the past few years, it was reported that the radical transparency of Bridgewater, one of the most significant hedge funds in the world, was a severe issue. An employee of the firm complained to the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. The employee complained that the company was under continuous surveillance via video, including the recording of every meeting and security guards who walked around the office. This had a negative effect on the business. There were additional allegations of harassment and sexual misconduct. Bridgewater worked from daily with everything under surveillance, even personal cellphones being secured at the beginning of each day. The radical transparency – meant to make sure that no trade secrets were leaking out of the Bridgewater offices–caused it to be subject to unwelcome scrutiny, which affected the amount of money they were receiving from investors and affected the bottom line of their business.
Today’s business world is significantly more transparent than even a few years ago. But even transparency requires a lot of thought to ensure you don’t get into a position that will harm your business’ image or causes an adverse reaction from the public as well as your clients.