Any company pursues the improvement of its performances, the increase of sales, the growth. Unless they are competing on price, not all of them are aware that, in order to achieve this, the trust factor is hidden behind it. It’s not something you can see, but it’s something that you end up touching translated into business results. If there is one priority that should really be at the forefront of any company, it is precisely the need to gain the trust of customers, but also of employees and other stakeholders. If you don’t get that trust, you’ll hardly achieve your business goals. The truth is that any relationship that adds value is based on trust, without which it is impossible to move forward. The same is true between brands and people.

Obviously, and I would say that in a previous link, what we can call functional trust is generated, based on reliability and functionality towards a product or a service that meets what is expected of it. But the moment that balance is reached repeatedly, a relationship based on a superior value proposition is activated, transforming into the emotional trust factor, which is precisely the ground where brands are built.

Achieving the Brand Trust Factor

A study published in the Journal of Product & Brand Management calls Brand Skills the connections that are established between the functional attributes of a brand and the
brand equity
achieved from the perspective of customers. In this case, they argue that brands achieve trust to the extent that customers see themselves reflected in them. These Brand Skills are the ones that truly build emotional relationships, forming part of the terrain of brand meanings, that is, of the associations that people attribute to brands.

The strongest brands have been able to incorporate the trust factor among their attributes, but maintaining it is often not easy. Building trust takes a lifetime, but losing it is only a matter of a second. And the current information society (or over-information, from a more critical perspective) certainly does not make things easier. If we saw that trust needs relationships, digital channels are highways of relationships through communication. A real challenge, but also a great opportunity for those brands that have a clear roadmap to where and how to add value.

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Brands that excel provide added value

As Emilio Llopis, professor at IE Business School, comments, “the only way to have a valuable brand, with a good reputation capable of protecting the business from its competitors, is to create clear and sustainable value for customers.”

That value is not achieved with words, it is achieved with deeds. That is why communication is a double-edged sword, which can easily turn against you when you don’t deliver what you promise. If brands want to avoid falling into contradictions, losing all kinds of trust, they must be authentic, or in other words, transparent and honest. They have to learn to admit their mistakes, making mistakes is human and we forgive them, as long as the error is admitted and ways are presented to correct it.

We are not dealing with a question of how messages are delivered, but of how they are perceived. I mean it’s not about the more tactical aspect of communication, which is the end of the chain in relationship building; This is the most strategic aspect that arises from the configuration of the brand’s DNA and that will define why someone should matter, how they are and how they behave, and that will use communication as a vehicle to reach the world.

Fortunately, in the face of the fall in trust of Spaniards in the media and institutions, it seems that trust in brands has grown by 3 points, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer 19. Despite this, much remains to be done.

 

 

Carlos Puig Falcó

CEO of Branward®

 

Photos: Shutterstock

 

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