Whether in PR or advertising, being trustworthy is just the right thing to do. But is it also profitable? The shortest answer is very simply “yes.” But these days, not every brand seems to understand that. The overarching issue is that brands too often want to be transparent, while at the same time remain somewhat guarded with their messaging. That is, despite research which has shown time and time again that transparency works, especially with millennials.

“The more we analyzed the concept of brand, the more self-conscious brands have become. And, just like people, the more self-conscious they are, the less attractive they are,” said marketer Reuben Webb in a recent article. “Brands need to dance like there’s no one watching in the post-modern marketing era, like they used to in the ‘pre-modern’ era — when things like jingles were commonly and unselfconsciously expressed.”

But will that strategy help get your brand to where it needs to be? According to a YouGov report, 61 percent of consumers say that they trust the marketing campaigns they read, see or hear, an increase from 50 percent in March 2014. Some 72 percent of internet users surveyed said that campaigns were “honest,” a 16-percentage-point increase from the March 2014 survey.

People buy from the brands they trust. If your brand allows consumers to see you as you really are, that leads to success.

Remember, though, the key in formulating trustworthy messaging can sometimes be as subtle as watching what you say, as well as how you say it. Research from Stern Strategy Group points to these simple do’s and don’ts.

* Keep it simple… Everyday language –  such as choosing the word “change” instead of the haughtier “transform” or simply “did” instead of the overused “accomplish” – makes the message seem more believable.

* Active voice (researchers “showed”) comes across as more positive and more persuasive vs. passive voice (it “was shown”).

* Vivid descriptions and details enable a reader to more intimately experience or connect with the message.

Strong action verbs – such as run, build, challenge or lead – make statements more convincing.

What examples of brands being transparent in their messaging can you come up with? Does the list include your brand? If not, let us help you re-think your marketing strategy with initiatives that work.