I’m all about transparency. When I have conversations with my friends, I like to know how they’re really feeling and what is going on in their lives because I care about them. When I think about a big business, transparent is not the first adjective I’d use. In fact, I think a lot of people would say that, too. The connotation some people associate with large companies is bad; there’s a catch; they just want my money; they don’t care about me, the consumer.
But there is something different about Marriott, the international hotel chain. The Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board Bill Marriott is writing a blog about his company and the people behind the scenes. He is giving the consumer a peek into the works and lives of those who made it so great.
One of my favorite blog posts Bill has written, “It Comes from the Soul,” Bill said, “There’s no magical formula or business consultant that you call and say, ‘build us a culture.’ It comes from the soul of the executive team usually the founder… At Marriott International, our number one core value is ‘Putting People First.’ How you communicate that is very important.”
Putting People First: this blog post reveals that is 100% true. Each blog post describes something personal about Bill Marriott or an interaction with an employee. Specifically, “Setting the World on Fire,” Bill introduces us to Hannah, a new member of the Marriott family, with a very inspiring story and passion for helping women in Ghana through education. In another post, “The Haiti Principle,” Bill’s daughter Debbie guest wrote and described her trip to the new Haiti Marriott hotel. Debbie tells us Marriott decided to “put a hotel in Haiti, an investment in the people, the economy and the country. They “hire friendly, train technical” and found a lot of employees at orphanages, churches and refugee camps.
The employees make up about one-fifth of the readers, and I think it is because it is their way of connecting with the head of the company, and I think that’s how Bill intended it to be. Through this online format, consumers and employees both see the transparency of the company and I think Marriott should continue to engage the public in this way. Not only are they receiving revenue from this blog, but they are also receiving priceless trust and loyalty from their customers and employees.
One of my favorite craft stores is Hobby Lobby, and I strongly believe they could benefit from writing a blog like Marriott. Hobby Lobby has been all over the news the past few years because of many faith-based issues with the government, and I think with honesty like Marriott, they could eliminate some bad press and gain a few sympathetic customers. It could be a way to connect the Hobby Lobby employees with their CEO and a way for the public to look at them with a little more sympathy. Blog posts could include the reasons behind why the believe what they believe along with craft ideas, tutorials and decorating tips for the customer.
Whatever the content, it must be personal to give the company more of a human-aspect instead of a “big, bad business” like so many may think it is. Right now Hobby Lobby is in a very vulnerable state, and a blog could be a make or break for them. Transparency with their readers should be a big deal.