MindFire Communications, Inc.
What drives trust in your business?
June 15, 2012 | Inga Rundquist

Trust is the holy grail of building strong brands. It’s the kindling that keeps the brand fire burning. Why? When people trust a brand:

  • They are more likely to recommend it to other people.
  • They are more likely to use its products and services more frequently.
  • They will look to it first for things they want.
  • They will give its new products and services a chance.
  • And they are more likely to pay more for its products and services.

So if harnessing trust is key to people buying, trying and paying more for products and services, how do businesses harness brand trust?

Ever year, the global PR giant Edelman, conducts a trust survey that examines trust in four key institutions: government, media, business and NGOs. They survey more than 30,000 regular people – like you and me – aged 25-64 across 25 countries. (For insight into this year’s results, take a look at their executive summary.)

As part of this research they look at specific characteristics of trustworthy companies. (Your ears should be perking up right about now!) Here’s what they’ve found:

To be a trustworthy company, you must "combine operating efficiency with social responsibility.” As a result, Edelman has divided their 16 trust drivers into those two categories.

Operational category:

  1. Offers high quality products/services.
  2. Has transparent, open business practices.
  3. Communicates frequently and honestly on the state of its business.
  4. Delivers consistent financial returns to investors.
  5. Has highly regarded and widely admired top leadership.
  6. Is an innovator of new products, services or ideas.
  7. Ranks on a global list of top companies.
  8. Partners with NGOs, government and third parties to address societal issues.

Societal category:

  1. Listens to customer needs/feedback.
  2. Takes responsible actions to address an issue or crisis.
  3. Places customers ahead of profits.
  4. Treats employees well.
  5. Has ethical business practices.
  6. Works to protect and improve the environment.
  7. Addresses society’s needs in its everyday business.
  8. Creates programs that positively impact the local community.

Building and managing trust is a complex and time-consuming process. But understanding these 16 trust drivers will help you move in the right direction.

How does your business measure up?

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