Trust in a company’s brand attracts customers. They want to believe that the product or service behind that brand is what they want and that an organization will deliver and stand behind the brand. Now brands are more than catchy logos or clever slogans. Brands are what establish the personal connections with customers; good brands maintain the connections.
Consumers will pay higher prices for products they trust and through branding, companies are able to separate one from another, but the trust can easily be interrupted or even destroyed by a failure to deliver, abandonment, or reckless employees. Businesses are based on their reputations, and the action of employees is what creates a company’s brand. Think of Zappos, and the outgoing, personable, and knowledgeable staff who man their phones every day of the week. I doubt there is a shoe diva out there who hasn’t at the very least browsed the Zappos website. The reliability of the products, guarantees, and customer service create the experience of authenticity; a characteristic of trust. Then there’s always Starbucks. My Keurig makes one heck of a great cup of coffee, but is there anything like a caramel macchiato prepared by the friendly and well-trained barista?
Branding is not a simple tangible item. A company may advertise its brand, but that doesn’t create the part of trust, which is the part of branding that builds confidence and ultimately recognition. Having a high advertising budget to get a company’s brand out there isn’t going to mean success. Every action by every member in a company has to be accountable. We won’t soon forget giant brands as Enron, Packard Bell, Atari, and even A&P food stores. From the CEO to the grocery packer, every customer or client needs to be treated as a potential brand ambassador. We learn valuable lessons from the failures, and most unsuccessful businesses have fallen to the side of the road because of lack of trust of their brand.
Companies need to constantly work on their commitment to their clients and customers. A customer-focused infrastructure includes quality products, quality personnel, and every department taking responsibility building character, honesty, and trust.
Can we argue that branding and trust are different? Trust is personal while branding is relevant to a company. We associate trust with people, and trust is built through credibility and reliability. I trust my friends, and I trust my family. In a business sense, I trust the consistency of my shopping experiences or of the services supplied to me. Branding is the characteristic behind a company, but my experience with that company over time is what has built my trust. For instance, Mercedes-Benz is the brand, and over a period of four years, I have put my trust in what they offer. For the best companies, I put my trust behind the brand.
photo credit: HowardLake