IN AN ENVIRONMENT CHARACTERISED BY UNCERTAINTY, CONSUMERS CHOOSE TO DEAL WITH PEOPLE, BUSINESSES AND BRANDS THEY TRUST.
But if trust is the “lock & key”, then how does one generate and maintain that trust?
Author Stephen R. Covey emphasises that “trust is the glue of life. It's the essential ingredient in effective communication. It's the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”
In short, trust is the fundamental building block of a great relationship. If, as brand owners, we want to build strong and lasting bonds with our consumers, where should we start?
In our view, there are five main elements to building trust in a relationship:
1. GIVE THE PERSON REASON TO TRUST YOU.
Share the details of your day. Talk about your plans for the future. Always be open and honest about what you are doing, and when you are doing it./p>
In the same way, brands can’t just expect to be trusted. They must talk in the same language as their consumer and connect with them in a meaningful way. Trust is not just given – it must be earned through ongoing communication.
2. KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND MAKE SURE YOUR PARTNER KNOWS, TOO.
Don't be afraid of who you are in your relationship. Until you are comfortable inside your skin, trust is always going to evade you.
For brands to be part of a conversation and to gain trust, they must know who they are, what they do and why it matters. When a brand’s identity and image is clear, simple and consistent, consumer trust will follow.
3. MEET ADVERSITY IN THE RELATIONSHIP HEAD-ON.
Leaving things unresolved chips away at trust because it slows the natural, positive momentum of a relationship. By showing that you are willing to bend and compromise, your partner will also make important shifts and adjustments.
The same applies to trust in a brand – by showing that you are willing to go the extra mile to be trusted, consumers will buy into this safe space.
4. BE OPEN AND BE TRUTHFUL - TALK TO EACH OTHER ABOUT EVERYTHING AND HAVE AUTHENTIC CONVERSATIONS.
It is never conducive when building trust to lie or be inauthentic – unless you are planning a surprise for your partner! You’ll likely get caught in the lie, and this will undermine the trust in all future interactions.
For a brand to be trusted, it needs to be open and truthful in all conversations with the consumer. It is now more important than ever to be transparent. A small lie will cause a breakdown in trust, which leads to a breakdown in the relationship.
5. ENSURE THAT YOUR ACTIONS ARE CONSISTENT WITH YOUR WORDS - BE RELIABLE!
When your partner can see that what you do and say line up, the trust in a relationship comes naturally. Follow through on your promises, big and small. Promised to walk the dog? Walk the dog, then.
It’s critical for a brand to deliver on every promise it makes. An obvious key to building consumer trust is keeping promises. This is nothing new, and it simply requires that a company delivers on what it says it will. One broken promise can take years to heal.