A Trust Transparency Collision – Ritual

September 11, 2018

At Trust Transparency Center, we actively seek out best practices in corporate activity that support our premise that the proactive exercise and commitment to trust transparency has high ROI across many measurements. Conversely, trust transparency collisions can lead to consumer distrust so we try to raise awareness of them on an ongoing basis so others can avoid the same pitfalls.

Calling out a very common practice, a recent New York Times piece titled Tricky Ads From a Vitamin Company that Talks Up Openness describes a trust transparency collision. Highlighting the oft criticized supplement industry, journalist Sapna Maheshwari calls out industry darling Ritual for using quotes from paid articles in its advertising to imply endorsement. Maheshwari writes “The company has paid for articles on websites like Well & Good and PureWow, and then taken positive quotes from those articles in its ads on Facebook and Instagram. It has also used news coverage from CNN and The New York Times to suggest that the outlets endorsed benefits from its vitamins.”

While Ritual is by no means the only company let alone supplement company taking this approach, it is specifically because Ritual touts transparency as a brand value in a category that mainstream media is already skeptical of that they are under heightened scrutiny. Choosing transparency as a fundamental value raises the stakes – and both risks and rewards. The former for any perspective of hypocrisy, the latter, for determination, commitment and consistency.

It is true that when quotes from articles in influential publications are placed in ads without disclosing that the quote came from a paid piece, this can mislead consumers. It is for this reason that best practices dictate that such content be properly identified. For the already scrutinized supplement industry, we want ideally to take extra steps in this area.

It is this consistently higher road that we believe our best and brightest must walk. In this case, the company has used common practice when its very success and popularity in the market have made it a larger target. While we don’t know the breadth of response to this piece, one reader, Jacob, did have this to say: “I am fine with the idea of sponsored content, as long as it is appropriately marked so people know what it is that they are getting into. The problem for me isn’t the price tag, but rather the hypocrisy of Ritual to claim to promote truth in advertising when they have no qualms about quoting their own sponsored content…but they instead insist on creating these two opposing messages, which do nothing but erode confidence in their brand.”

The supplement industry will continue to be energized by new and emerging brands using smart, aggressive and creative tactics. The more successful, the more visible they will be. Trust transparency collisions are a real peril, and sometimes tough to avoid. It’s worth the investment though.

Spotlight Trust Transparency Collision is an ongoing feature for Trust Transparency Center. If you’ve spotted a trust transparency collision, we’d love to hear your thoughts on it. Email us at info@trusttransparency.com.

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Lori Diez

Lori Diez combines compassion and excellence to lead organizations to their next level. A small-town Texas childhood taught her the value of hard work and relationships, which she uses to foster teamwork that brings results that have transformed cultures and programs to their highest potential. Her successful career in pharmaceutical and nutraceutical sales leadership and event hosting has prepared her to deliver results as the COO of TrustTransparency, where she uses her industry knowledge to ensure that the company’s operations run smoothly as they support nutraceutical companies in their mission to help others. Lori’s passion for charity reflects her belief that individuals working together can change the world, no matter how small their contribution to the effort. This year, she looks forward to continuing over a decade of service at the Houston Livestock Show And Rodeo, where she will be the Chairman of the Livestock Committee.

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Glynnda Steinford, Trust Transparency Consulting’s Director of Customer Relations, brings over four decades of healthcare experience to her vital role in client engagement and relationship building. Her diverse background spans from administering medical groups to impactful stints in pharmaceutical and nutraceutical sales, all underlined by her degree in Healthcare Administration.

At the heart of Glynnda’s work is her talent for nurturing long-term connections, a skill she leverages to enhance client experiences and partnerships within the consultancy. Beyond her professional commitments, she enjoys life’s simple pleasures, whether it’s her love for cats and cooking or her ventures into golf, always prioritizing cherished moments with family and friends. Her personal interests echo the dedication and warmth she extends in her professional network, making her an invaluable asset to the team.

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Caiti Dowden stands as a crucial pillar at Trust Transparency Consulting, bringing invaluable insight and expertise to her role as Senior Executive Assistant’ since her start in 2018. With an academic background from Sam Houston University and a career shift from education to the nutraceutical sphere in 2010, Caiti has cultivated a sharp acumen for dissecting industry trends and bolstering strategic decision-making.

Her transition from Data Analyst reflects her growth and deep understanding of the business landscape. Caiti’s commitment goes beyond professional excellence; she thrives on balance, drawing from her rich life outside of work to enhance her organizational contributions. Whether it’s family time, volunteering, or rooting for Houston’s sports teams, she believes in embracing experiences to fuel her professional creativity and insight.

In her current role, Caiti’s dedication to dynamic business analysis and operational support proves her to be an irreplaceable asset to our team, embodying the synergy of personal enrichment and professional success.

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Pam Hilpert, Chief of Staff at Trust Transparency Consulting, has been instrumental in the firm since its inception, leveraging her 17 years of accounting experience, including a significant tenure in the nutrition sector. Her collaboration with Scott Steinford spans various successful ventures, emphasizing her integral role in the company’s financial and strategic initiatives.

An alumnus of Sam Houston State University, Pam holds degrees in both Business Administration and Accounting, as well as an MBA, adding academic heft to her practical industry insights. Beyond her professional prowess, Pam is passionate about family, enjoys live music, delves into quilting, and volunteers at her church, reflecting her well-rounded life.

Her multifaceted expertise and longstanding dedication make Pam a cornerstone of Trust Transparency Consulting’s operational strength and team unity.

Scott Steinford

Scott Steinford, a trailblazer in strategic leadership, boasts a certified M&A background, having navigated companies from their genesis to industry prominence. His brainchild, Trust Transparency Consulting, born in 2007, stands as a testament to his dedication to ethical business practices and strategic foresight, offering industry stakeholders invaluable guidance.

Beyond founding and steering companies, Scott has enriched the business landscape with his insightful keynotes and prolific written contributions, emphasizing his commitment to elevating industry standards. His executive tenure shines in roles as CEO or President of for-profits like ZMC-USA and Doctor’s Best, extending to significant contributions in non-profit sectors.

Notably, Scott’s influence is a driving force in the CoQ10 market, where his leadership has significantly bolstered the ingredient’s global presence. His roles in various capacities, including as a New Hope Ambassador, keep the community informed, providing in-depth industry reports and insights.

An active advocate within professional associations and an Editorial Advisor for leading industry publications, Scott’s expertise is both recognized and sought after. With academic roots in Pre-Law and a Master’s in Law, his journey transcends textbooks, embodying real-world business acumen and transformative leadership.

Scott Steinford merges visionary entrepreneurship with principled leadership, creating a legacy of innovation, growth, and unwavering commitment to industry excellence.