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Brand Management

How Brands Build Trust

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Brand Strategy Customer Service Trust

Trust is the most critical component in building and maintaining a strong, emotionally driven and enduring brand. However, in a world of promotion-driven-marketing tactics, many brand owners forget that building trust is the only thing holding the relationship with the customer together.

Most marketers are in business to create demand and sell more stuff. They are rewarded on their skill and ability to help organizations sell. For most customers, selling is not a very trustworthy practice. Nobody likes to be sold, but people sure do love to buy. More than ever customers buy from brands they trust. At the beginning of any relationship, trust is the most difficult component to establish.

There are two kinds of people–those who begin a relationship with little trust which needs to be earned over time, and those who begin with trust freely given, but is forever taken away on the first sign of behavior deemed untrustworthy. Either way trust must be established or there will be no relationship.

Relationships with trusted brands are built and maintained in this same fashion.

People naturally will measure, with great care and consideration, how the brand is likely to behave in a given situation depending on the rewards for being trustworthy and the deterrents against untrustworthy behavior. When trust is established at its highest level between a brand and the customer, there is always an emotional “investment” made between the two parties.

This bond is based wholly on strong emotional connections as a result of the perceived shared values between the brand and the customer. It is never based on functional benefits or feature based ingredients. Trusted brands understand what customers really care about so completely that they become a badge of identification for the relationship. 

The components of trust in building enduring brand value.

The pathway to brand insistence has well-defined components and all are essential for brands to succeed in growing their value to customers and brand owners alike.

Trusted brands do the right things.

Trusted brands are perceived by customers as having unparalleled competence, efficacy and effectiveness in delivering on its promise. It delivers consistently and contributes value even when it’s not in the moneymaking interests of the brand owners. 

Trusted brands enjoy an “us=them” relationship with customers.

Customers must perceive and believe that they are one and the same with the brand and the organizational culture behind it. The degree to which customers have common values, and shared beliefs associated with the brand’s values and behavior will determine the level of sustained trust customers will hold in their hearts and minds.

Trusted brands have empathy.

Customers must experience deep emotional feelings of caring, empathy, tolerance, and safety when they are vulnerable in transactions with the brand. Sincere efforts to understand these feelings contribute to high trust levels in any relationship. 

Trusted brands never fail customers.

When brands act consistently and dependably, trust is strengthened and customer advocacy assured. Trusted brands are stalwart in living up to and delivering the value that matters most to customers. 

Trusted brands are transparent.

Honesty, integrity, sincerity are the essential attributes that contribute and reinforce customer trust. This involves not only the amount and accuracy of information that is shared with customers, but also how sincerely and appropriately it is communicated. 

Customers will not move forward in building a trusted relationship with a brand to the level or consistency or identity until a brand proves it is able to live up to its part of the bargain. Brands succeed because they earn and deserve, never because brand owners desire or need the business. As I have written here many times, brand can only make the trust bond hold when they connect through shared values. This is the only path to brand insistence.

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1 Comment

Graham Robertson on November 22nd, 2012 said

The most beloved brands are based on an idea that is worth loving. It is the idea that connects the Brand with consumers. And under the Brand Idea are 5 sources of connectivity that help connect the brand with consumers and drive Brand Love, including the brand promise, the strategic choices you make, the brand’s ability to tell their story, the freshness of the product or service and the overall experience and impressions it leaves with you. Everyone wants to debate what makes a great brand–whether it’s the product, the advertising, the experience or through consumers. It is not just one or the other–it’s the collective connection of all these things that make a brand beloved.

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