Transparency and Disclosure

I wanted to remind everyone about transparency and disclosure when posting online. If you work for a company, you should disclose your affiliation when posting about the company online. The people participating on social media sites are smart people. If you don’t disclose your affiliations, people will find out, and it won’t reflect favorably on your company if people feel like they have been misled.

Kohl’s V.P. of Digital Marketing, Ed Gawronski, is the most recent example of this faux pas (described by Augie Ray):

Based on his activities in Kohl’s Facebook community, Ed Gawronski seems to be a big fan of Kohl’s. Two weeks ago he noted, “Less then 4 hours to get a great deal at I just hit the jackpot and saved 30% on some ASICS sneaks. Cost me almost nothing.” And a couple days later he had another scoop for Kohl’s Facebook Fans: “make sure to give your email to I think they give you $5 when you give it in. The deals get even better too. I’ve seen special online promotions every week.”

You might think Ed is just a helpful guy and a big supporter of Kohl’s, except a visitor to the Facebook page outed Gawronski as a Kohl’s marketing executive. In a reply to one of Ed’s posts, the anonymous visitor notes, “Interesting. Ed Gawronski is the VP of marketing for Kohl’s. Masquerade much?”

Quoted from Transparency (or Lack Thereof) on Kohl’s Facebook Fan Page in Experience: The Blog

Keep in mind that open, honest and transparent conversations are the norm for most social media sites. Spend some time thinking about your social media / digital strategy, and think about how your actions reflect on your company. When you are thinking about doing something questionable, ask yourself 2 questions:

  • Would I want my mother to know that I did this?
  • Would I be embarrassed if I read about it on the front page of the Wall Street Journal?

If your answers to either of these questions is anything other than yes, you should find another course of action.

3 thoughts on “Transparency and Disclosure”

  1. I also like to ask – “if I did this while not wearing any pants, would my action itself be so egregious that people would forget that i hadn’t been wearing any pants at the time?” 😉

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