“Animals often act with more integrity than many people.” said Neale Donald Walsch in his book Conversations with God.

Integrity is not something you say you have. It is made evident in the way you act. Integrity is doing what you promise to. A tiger will kill and eat you. A cow will moo and fart. A cat will sleep – a lot. Like individuals, businesses either have integrity or not. No amount of gab will fill an integrity gap.

For example, a typical Two Dollar shop has more integrity than a multi-billion dollar telco. Everything in a Two Dollar shop is cheap – the décor, the branding, the advertising material, and the goods. Many telcos simply spin lie through their advertising. They say they care about customer service, and yet their call centres are designed primarily to cut costs, not provide service. They say they provide simple plans, and yet we know they hire specialists to design deliberately incomparably plans.

Trust is an immensely sought-after and valuable trait in today's fickle markets and transparency-promoting Internet. And integrity is required to create trust. Integrity cannot be manufactured out of PR and marketing. Perhaps for the first time in history since the Industrial Revolution, businesses are faced with an authenticity challenge. One that can only be met by being, and actually changing their behaviour.

The good thing is, a business (or a person) who has integrity don't need to advertise it. Imagine the potential savings on advertising!