It seems that everyone is having trust issues these days (see WMD's, Healthcare, baseball players and steroids, etc.). So, why should Brands be an exception?
BusinessWeek's article on The Great Trust Offensive (and the video above) highlights that Brands are indeed no exception.
But, I ask: is this news? Not to me. Trust is absolutely core to the meaning of a Brand and the Brand's relationship with its consumers. And, any time you have a relationship, it seems that you are bound to have "issues." For Brand's, today's marketplace and technology have just made it faster and more obvious.
If trust has always been at the core of a successful brand, why am I writing about this? There are two things I think bear noting.
Brands Can't Hide - No How, No Way
Today's technology and communication explosion has greatly accelerated the ability for a Brand to build its reputation and trust...and to lose it. Web 2.0 and global communications means the whole world is watching, literally, and word travels at lightspeed. It’s all out there - the good, the bad and the ugly, and you can bet that someone is going to find it and broadcast it. This has created a new paradigm for Brand reputation building and management. For whatever reason, many Brands (and companies) are still struggling with this new reality, which leads me to...
It's not branding...it's a Brand
Many companies miss the boat when they pursue "branding" efforts. "Branding" efforts don't build trust. "Branding" is a verb; "branding" is an activity. It involves people at companies doing something to create a particular impression; it is intended to create a positioning, look, feel, identity in a meaningful, relevant, consistent manner for a product, service. "Branding" is a portrayal of a Brand, but, that's not what builds trust.