Trust is the Holy Grail for brands. That's because people today have more multilayered relationships with companies in areas like privacy, security, access, ownership, social issues, and ethics. Brands need to demonstrate trust in areas they never had to consider before.
So if your job involves shaping, launching, or managing a brand, it can be tempting to talk about trust in your brand communications. But you can’t just sell trust with words. In fact the harder you try, the less likely you are to succeed.
Because in the world of brands, trust isn't a message, it's a goal.
Is your brand trustworthy?
Trustworthy means so many things. For some, it conveys an ethical company; for others, a reliable product. It requires some specifics to back up, and consistency over time.
When thinking of your own brand, ask yourself some tough questions:
Do our customers feel we’re trustworthy? How do we know?
How does our product perform vs. expectations?
How’s our corporate behavior? Are we living our company values?
How do our actions compare to competitors?
The key is not to say “trust me”, but to demonstrate trustworthiness.
Brand trust doesn't live in marketing
If you’re the brand leader at your organization, here’s the tricky part: all those questions impact you, but you shouldn’t be owning any of them. These are business issues that live with the C-Suite, not strictly the CMO.
If a brand isn’t trusted because the company is falling short somewhere (product performance, customer service, corporate ethics), the company must first address the problem. Building trust only comes to Marketing once it’s been proven in the market.
You'll also want standardized way to evaluate trust and measure its benefits. Define the metrics for your own organization, an exercise that again requires collaboration and buy-in from the full C-Suite.
How to communicate brand trust without saying it
Let’s say your brand is doing all the right things, or at least enough that you can start sharing it to improve genuine brand trust. That’s great! Now what?
Some advice and tactics to consider:
Collect trustworthy endorsements
Be uncomfortably transparent
Facilitate trust between others
In our Brandingmag article, we go into each of these areas along with specific tactics you can use in your own business.
Brand trust is essential, tangibly valuable, and not getting any less important. So, it’s your job to strengthen and grow trust in your brand, ask the hard questions about just how trustworthy your brand really is, and communicate carefully to leverage your strengths while addressing your weaknesses.