Tag Archive “Trust; Challenger Brands; Customers; Energy Suppliers; Responsible Research”

Trust - its only a little word but has US in the middle

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Posted by Alan Bowman
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As researchers we spend a lot of time talking to customers and consumers. A recurrent theme over the last 5-6 months has been the frequency of references they have made to trust. As consumer uncertainty and concern increases, the spotlight tends to shine ever more brightly on this facet of a brand or organisations make up.
Trust is not an attribute which can be treated like other aspects of the brand .. 'trust has to be earned' - therefore it is a response to some kind of action which has a benefit to a consumer or customer. Is it surprising that the categories which are least trusted currently are banks; newspapers; politicians and energy providers?

In simple terms consumers will be frustrated enough to let rip with comments like - 'how can you trust people who profit when we are struggling?' In this regard it is indeed energy suppliers who are most criticised - trust needs not only to be felt but to be believed. Transparency and honesty are companions of trust in an emotional sense and if they are absent or suspected of being absent then trust cannot develop.
A few years ago we worked with a brand that had the mission to become the 'most loved brand'. Without resorting to scripture there are three facets which tend to go together faith, hope and love - in a similar way our research over several projects has defined the relationship between being personable, trust and friendship. A brand may struggle to achieve love but many brands are seen as friends - and friends above all are people you trust.
Trust takes time to build but it is also evidential - it is the actions taken that underline trust; how an organisation responds, supports or listens. With our focus at Responsible research we believe that trust is the most important attribute brands need to develop during the current climate. It starts with an attitude - organisations need to trust their customers and their staff - uniting the two builds trust more rapidly.
How many customer facing staff truly trust the organisation or brand that employs them or indeed the values they are asked to embrace as employees?
So to build trust our experience points to uniting behind some much higher goal - addressing a social need, one which reflects aspects of the brand values of the organisation, but then acting upon them so that they become experienced by customers. This is not Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) even though we believe that is really important here at Responsible research. No, it is about something more tangible, experiential and recognisably credible. The brands that get this right will be matching the needs of the new consumer mindset which is fast developing during this time of economic crisis.
The emergence of new challenger brands who can earn the trust of consumers will thrive in this new world we have entered, because it is easier to demonstrate and develop trusted behaviour if you are challenging established and distrusted brands. Watch this space!

Tags:  Trust; challenger brands; customers; energy suppliers; Responsible research

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Trust - its only a little word but has US in the middle

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