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Honesty is the Best Policy

It is often said in today’s cynical world that honesty is at a premium.  It was partly for this reason (and partly because it is housed inside an old London bus) that my attention was drawn to The Honesty Shop as I was walking through east London the other day.

There are a few aspects of this charity shop that stand out. One is that customers are trusted to pay for their purchases using an honesty box, rather than dealing with a cashier. Another element is that shoppers are free to choose which charity will receive 10% of the cost of their purchases. Finally, the quality and style of the products on offer – many of which would make desirable Christmas presents – is striking.

We’ve seen many developments throughout 2012 relating to consumers’ increasing demands for companies to act with integrity and propriety. The recent high-profile criticism of companies that do not pay their ‘fair share’ of taxation in the UK is one example of this. What’s more, data from the GfK Roper Reports Worldwide survey of global consumer attitudes and behaviours show that there is an on-going demand for this kind of thing.

For instance, one of the 12 trends in our TrendKey 3.2 global trends framework that has risen in the rankings since 2011 is Considered Consumption, which is all about choosing brands and services that are in keeping with consumers’ beliefs, values, ethics and ideals. We also see in our ValueScope study of global consumer values that Honesty is consistently in the top two or three of 54 values we ask about.  With all this in mind, I think it would be wise for companies in all sectors to consider taking a leaf from The Honesty Shop’s book in 2013.

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