The importance of trust

07 Feb, 2018

Trust. It’s just a nice way of describing risk assessment.

When we trust someone or something, all we are really demonstrating is that we have weighed-up the risk and decided to go ahead.

And trust, like risk assessment, varies with the circumstance.

What’s interesting is that as our perceived risk increases the need for trust increases.

So, the first time we fly or bungee jump, or the first time we buy shares or hire a solicitor we are in unfamiliar territory.

Our risk perception increases and, therefore, the need for trust increases.

Do I trust the airline? The bungee rope? The dealing platform? Or indeed, the lawyer sitting opposite me?

This isn’t just important, it’s at the very heart of branding.

Every time we buy something we are taking a risk: will I get what I want and will it be worth it? Every time we buy something we are making a little leap of faith or more precisely a leap of trust.

And this is the role of brands: to provide sufficient reassurance to make the ‘trust leap’ a little easier.

So it’s less of a leap and more of a hop.

Every brand has this at its core. And the brand’s role is to create trust and therefore diminish the perceived risk to the buyer.

Anything you do for the brands you manage should tick this box.

Does this build trust in my brand promise? Am I turning a ‘brand leap’ into a ‘brand hop’?

And, if anything you do risks diminishing trust, don’t do it.

Overpromising, misleading claims, lack of customer understanding, poor customer care, just inconsistency, wastefulness, lack of attention to detail, and erratic behaviour. These all diminish trust. And they are all too common.

Businesses need to work hard to minimise them and brands need to champion the cause. Brands should be thought of not as brand marks but trust marks and brand managers should start thinking of their jobs as risk managers rather than sales managers.