White Hat Brands

Some of the most fascinating marketing-related conversations I have are with Dave Morgan, CEO of Tacoda. At the iMedia Summit, during the sponsored vodka tasting, we were talking a bit about "White Hat Brands," their cornerstone values and the advantages they have in the marketplace. Trustworthiness is not something to be underestimated in the modern marketplace. In a world when most folks believe that the majority of the people delivering commercial messages to them are full of crap, people will tend to gravitate toward the trustworthy brands and seek out White Hat values in the companies they do business with.

The cornerstone values of a White Hat brand are consistent with many of the ideals of the Citizen Media movement and the Cluetrain Manifesto - honesty, transparency, a personal touch, willingness to engage in dialogue, willingness to admit mistakes, etc. As I was talking to Dave about this, it occurred to me that it's probably easier and more realistic to have a White Hat brand in the B2B space. The notion of having meaningful and honest communication with customers is, frankly, a bit easier to execute in B2B, where the customer base is smaller than in consumer marketing, and businesses are already concentrating effort on making their communication more meaningful.

This is likely why Dave's company has such a great reputation in the industry.

I wonder if the consumer market can take direction on this from the B2B market. In other words, if White Hat brands emerge from the B2B space, will consumer marketers begin to covet what they've built and begin to explore executing something similar in the consumer space?