Trust – difficult to gain, easily lost, and once gone almost (but not completely) impossible to salvage.
We’ve watched this play out in the public arena as big business blusters, social media scandals, depravity in politics and even, admittedly, excessive puffery used by (other) communication professionals has led to an era of mistrust and bred a new generation of sceptical consumers ready to cut down your brand at the first hint of discrepancy.
Unfortunately, the principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ doesn’t apply when it comes to your brand. The default of consumers and fellow businesses is to look at you through a lens of cynicism until they are confident, without a shadow of a doubt, they can trust you.
…and it doesn’t stop there! If the trust isn’t maintained, it won’t be long before stakeholders decide it’s time to break-up. You may have had a good run, you may have some fond memories together; but, if you as a brand have breached their trust, it’s only a matter of time before they decide it’s time to move on – “thank you, next”.
Earning, and keeping trust, takes time and it takes effort, but the returns for your business are guaranteed to be lucrative in the long-run.
It’s all about authenticity… but yes, I realise it’s easier said than done, so here are some ways to build trust with your audience.
Take the lead
Credibility and trust go hand in hand, each begets more of the other. Take the time to share your experience and expertise with your audience.
Seek out speaking opportunities, attend networking events, develop relationships with industry and trade publications, write a blog!
It’s about positioning yourself as a leader in your industry or craft, so that when people are looking for an expert in [insert your field here] they know to dial your number. Take every opportunity that presents itself to build your credibility – if you’re keeping your knowledge to yourself, you’re doing it wrong.
Leverage newsworthy stories about your brand
This year’s Edelman Trust Barometer revealed an interesting phenomenon – there’s been a dramatic resurgence of consumer trust in news and media outlets. In an age of uncertainty, the media is returning to its former position as the fourth estate – keeping government, business and society accountable for its actions.
By strategically engaging with media your business can use this increased media trust to its advantage. It’s time to leverage those good news stories about your brand – the industry leading research, the sustainability efforts, the new charitable partnership and whatever else may resonate with your audience.
Be seen and heard
Research has shown people are attracted to what is familiar to them, and continued exposure builds confidence in that attraction. Put simply, your audience can’t trust you if they don’t know you!
Your brand needs to become that familiar face when people sign-in to social media, attend community or sporting events or even watch the news. Over time, a connection will build – and you haven’t even met yet.
At Elevate, we grow brands to be trusted pillars in their industry and community. We understand how to broker trust with your audience and build long-lasting stakeholder relationships through strategic public relations and corporate communication.
Contact Elevate today to find out more about how we can help you create long-lasting stakeholder relationships!
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