Transparency builds trust and lack thereof, erodes trust


by Tom Cherry

CEO, POP Tracker LLC




Transparency both requires and builds trust. It’s hard to start. You need to trust that being transparent, and the faults it may expose, will not implode your relationship. Further, your honesty and transparency will earn the trust of your client or partner and demonstrate you are committed to the best outcome.

Much has been written about the challenges of trust between an agency and the client in today’s advertising environment. In March 2019, Dentsu Aegis Network CEO of the Americas Nick Brien shared his thought during a panel at 4A’s Decisions 20/20. In a follow up interview with Adweek ( he commented: “When [Baxter and others on the panel] talk about trust, we all agree we have to break that down. There’s trust as in you’re trusting my professional judgment to spend your money and orchestrate that expenditure in this omnichannel world in the smartest way possible. And then the second dimension of trust is “Are you going to do that in an ethical way? Are you going to be transparent in the way that you’re working and spending the money I give to you as my agent?..There’s another dimension of trust, which is “Are you always going to be honest with me when things go wrong?”

It is not just the agency/client relationship. More broadly, the OOH industry needs to embrace trust and transparency (revealing good and bad) to foster process evaluation and improvement. Often transparency feels like a balancing act, where there is a general acknowledgement of the need and benefits, but hesitation when it comes to execution.


The power of transparency can be transformative. In a well documented example, Domino’s Pizza transformed its business, in part thanks to sharing the results of a 2008 customer survey. As presented in this Fortune ( article:

“In 2008, Domino’s Pizza took to the Internet to survey its customers. The customers made their feelings clear: They didn’t love the crust, the sauce, or the cheese. Perhaps nothing new in a customer survey, but then Domino’s took the unusual step of opening up further — actually sharing the survey results publicly and asking customers to help fix the problems. In 18 months, the company received thousands of messages through social media; it invited regular customers to try its pizzas and made changes along the way, even while it lost some customers.”

Surely many factors contributed to the success of Domino’s Pizza and the decision to be transparent and build trust with their audience was a catalyst. One success metric is the stock price which has soared from trading at $3.85 a share in late 2008 to $275 a share today, over 7,000% higher.

While the #OOH industry may not have a 7,000% increase in its future, we are always looking for ways to improve value and drive growth. To do this requires a ground up approach for all constituents and processes, where improvements could be accomplished through greater transparency, thus eliminating waste.

So let’s all trust in each other and get the process underway.


About POP Tracker

POP Tracker (POPT) is a cloud-based workflow solution for the Out of Home and Retail industries. POPT is integrated into the supply chain to provide transparency into media development, production, distribution, installation and removal.

Data can be captured using the POPT mobile app or supplied to the platform via API. Activity is tracked via a centralized, third party portal which results in greater accountability and drives efficiency for each member.

The POPT platform can function separately or be integrated into existing client workflows to guarantee information is available in the most convenient and efficient format. Reporting and performance analysis improve results and help maximize returns on future media and installation choices.



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