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Archive for the ‘Communications’ Category

Oct
12

 

Is it just me?

Most people I’ve met in business are honest, while a handful can’t stop their bulls–t.

How many BS excuses have you heard? What’s your favorite? These are a few of mine:

 

 

 

  • I’m VERY busy
  • I’m traveling nonstop
  • Check back with me in a month
  • I never saw your email
  • Let me run it by my team

Instead, why not just say “I’m not interested?”

People on the receiving end of BS excuses know they are just that, because they have heard them all before.

In my book, excuse givers get two strikes (the first might be legit), and then they are out! And I’ll share my experience with any colleague who asks.

I’ll take honesty over crappy excuses any day, because honesty builds trust. And if you can’t trust someone to initially tell you the truth, you probably don’t want to do business with them.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the Founder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World. 

 

Copyright 2019, Next Decade, Inc.

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Sep
18

Brand Trust has become a “big deal” for marketers in 2019.

While some define brand trust as building trust with your customers and consumers, not everyone agrees.

A recent article in Adweek called Consumer’s Trust in Brands Has Fallen to a New Low highlights the confusion that often arises when “talking trust” from a brand standpoint, or any point for that matter. This particular article ran the “building trust gamut” from:

  • Elevating trust with consumers
  • Through data privacy 
  • Relationship building
  • To increasing transparency
  • Meeting the needs of millennials and Get Z
  • And even being good corporate citizens.

I don’t know about you, but for me that’s a pretty tall and confusing trust order.

So I asked the members of our Trust Council to read the article and share their professional observations about what brand trust is and what it isn’t. Here’s what five members had to say:

Bart Alexander, a seasoned CSR professional opined that most consumers, including young adults, are still choosing products and services based on functional attributes more than responsibility performance of the parent company. Similarly, most investors still seek to maximize total return rather than focus on long-term sustainability performance. But we may well be on the cusp of a tipping point where the approaches referenced in the article become mainstream. At the same time, we must acknowledge that most of the economy is continuing to operate on far more traditional views about value.

Nadine Hack, a leadership consultant and educator, concurs. All of this activity makes me wonder (hopefully, yet cautiously) if we may have finally reached a tipping point where corporate social responsibility is something businesses must act on, not just talk about.

Randy Conley at Ken Blanchard adds that in the digital world, organizations are having to constantly make deposits in the “trust bank” of their customers, because sooner or later, there will be an instance where trust is broken. It’s not a question of if they’ll break trust, but when. The vast majority of consumers are starting to realize that we only live under the illusion of privacy and data security.  At the end of the day, each of us as consumers has to decide our own comfort level of risk in sharing our information with others and trusting those individuals/organizations to keep it safe.

Linda Fisher Thornton, an ethics educator and consultant had this to say… Reputation and brand used to be considered separate things. You built your brand (what you wanted people to believe about your company) and you sought to protect the image of your brand that you had built. That approach is outdated. With social media transparency, reputation and brand have converged to the point that reputation defines and shapes the brand. People believe what they see a company doing rather than any pretty picture it has created to represent itself.The way to build trust is not to pretend to be a trustworthy brand, but to actually live it.

“The Trust Ambassador” Bob Whipple concluded with these thoughts…The thing I was reminded of is that we all need to be cognizant of the reputation of our own brands and the jeopardy we could put people in unwittingly. The real test is how diligent the company is on the front end to design a robust system and how the company reacts if and when something goes wrong. That is the test of their leadership.

Which brings us back to the question in the title of the article. What does Brand Trust mean?

I suppose it depends on one’s personal and professional perspective. If you are a marketer in 2019, apparently it’s a big deal, not unlike “purpose,” another big deal. Sadly, many of these are merely PR “campaigns” designed by those who have no subject matter expertise. The result is not only less trust, but more cynicism and confusion for both customers and consumers. 

Marketers who choose to talk about brand trust, should consider shifting their focus to helping build trustworthy and enduring brands. That’s not accomplished through data security or meeting the needs of a certain generation, and it’s certainly not the sole responsibility of the marketing department. The way trustworthy brands are built is similar to the way people build trust between themselves. It always boils down to principles and values, and either leaders, teams and organizations have them or they don’t. If brands want to be trustworthy and trusted, it’s leadership’s responsibility, along with their Board, to first clean up their own house from the inside out. Building a foundation of trust via principled leadership and trustworthy employees is the only solution to elevating brand trust. And then the marketing team can step in and craft an authentic message, not just a PR campaign.

As Bob Whipple said earlier, the real test is how diligent the company is on the front end.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. For more information on how to build authentic brand trust, contact her at barbara@trustacrossamerica.com 

Copyright 2019, Next Decade, Inc.

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May
14

Taken from this week’s “Rebuilding Trust” headlines…

Facebook promises to rebuild trust via a “feel good” marketing campaign.

Boeing hints that perhaps a name change is (not) in order. There’s been “no discussion” of a name change, Johndroe said, including dropping “Max” and referring to the jet family by product numbers such as 737-8.

Danske Bank picks a new CEO and states, without details “We have a big task ahead of us in continuing to rebuild trust,” Danske Bank Chairman Karsten Dybvad said in a statement.

 

Who is doling out all this misdirected advice? And what does rebuilding trust even mean?

Ad campaigns, name changes and new CEOs are not the solution. Trust is internal and interpersonal, and is built from the inside out. It is an intentional and holistic business strategy that is practiced and reinforced daily starting at the very top and impacting every stakeholder group. As we have seen with almost every corporate crisis in the past, putting a Band-Aid on the elephant in the room doesn’t heal the wound. It just covers it up.

And why do these business leaders, and their respective “advisors” believe that trust was present in the past and now needs to be rebuilt? When was the last time trust building was a proactive agenda item at the Board level or in the C-Suite in any of these organizations? Until a deliberate acknowledgement is made that “perception of trust” is no replacement for trust itself, the “headlines” will repeat themselves, and the proposed solutions will not only be very costly, but ultimately lead nowhere. The crisis will blow over and it will be “business as usual.” No need to utter the “T” word again.

For authentic leaders who want to build trust from the inside out, please visit our website and read more about our new diagnostic, AIM Towards Trust.

Copyright 2019, Next Decade, Inc.

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Apr
14

Leaders should never take trust seriously.

After all, trust is just one of those “soft skills” that needs no particular attention, especially from leadership. For your next corporate event, instruct your communications department to hire a stand up comic to cover that “stuff” and provide the script in advance. Make sure it’s “compliance approved” and that your Board members attend.

  1. Never trust a tree. They are always shady.
  2. My trust issues started when my Mom said “come here, I’m not gonna hit you!”
  3. Raisin cookies that look like chocolate chip cookies are the main reason I have trust issues.
  4. Never trust an atom. They make up everything.
  5. I got trust issues because people got lying issues.
  6. It’s funny how trust disappears when you are looking for the TV remote. Me: “Do you have the remote?” Him: “No.” Me: “Stand up.”
  7. People say I have trust issues. I don’t believe them.
  8. Watch who you trust. Even your teeth bite your tongue now and then.
  9. I don’t trust these stairs. They are always up to something.
  10. I am pretty sure the definition of trust is giving your friend your phone without clearing the history.

I take no credit for any of these one-liners. I’m way too serious about trust! Our new diagnostic AIM Towards Trust doesn’t deliver any jokes. Instead, it provides a baseline measurement from which to improve trust in any team or organization. It’s designed for trustworthy leaders who embrace trust as an intentional business strategy, not a joke.

Contact us for more information: barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

Copyright 2019, Next Decade, Inc.

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Jan
31

This past week the World Economic Forum held its annual meeting at Davos and the global elite were buzzing like bees around the word “trust.” 

Overlapping was another meeting being held in a remote corner of NJ (of all places), perhaps because the “polar vortex” was about to ground the attendees’ private jets. This gathering was called “Sovad so Good” or “Sovad” for short.)

For those unfamiliar with the annual Davos event, it’s by “invitation only,” and even those who secure an invite might not be able to afford the cost of admission. Most badges require a membership to the World Economic Forum, which costs somewhere between $60,000 and $600,000, plus an additional fee of more than $27,000 per person to get into the conference. (CNBC, January 25, 2019)

Worth noting: Of the 3000 attendees almost 800 were Americans and 22% were women, up from 21% last year! Less than 5% of S&P 500 CEOs are women—that’s just 24 companies. We can’t know how many of those 24 were invited to the event in Davos, but the official attendance list includes four of their names: Heather Bresch, CEO of Mylan N.V.; Adena Friedman, CEO of  Nasdaq Inc.;  Vicki Hollub, CEO of Occidental Petroleum Corp.; and Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM. Quartz, January 21, 2019

Sovad (the other Davos) didn’t include the high price tag (or any admission fee for that matter), nor the “A” list of celebrities like Matt Damon or Will.i.am, and side deals were not being done off stage, probably because there was no stage. (Over 50% of the SOVAD group is women.) No large “trust signs” were erected at the entrance to our gathering like the one leading up to Davos. It was just too darn cold for anyone to want to climb a ladder, especially those in skirts.

CNN reported, ‘Trust is the new buzzword at Davos,” and as Dana Carvey “The Church Lady” liked to say on SNL, “Well isn’t that special.” (Dana and I lived together at one time but that’s a topic for another post.) So what was all the Davos “buzz” on trust about? These were the trust “themes:”

  1. Rebuilding trust (think Facebook.) Sheryl Sandberg was the trust “expert” on this subject.
  2. Trust and technology (digital security, AI, blockchain, etc.)
  3. Trust and innovation
  4. Trust and sustainability
  5. Trust and CEOs “taking stands.”

To the attendees at Davos these are certainly important revenue generating discussions to be having. But do they actually get to the heart of trust, or even move the needle slightly to elevate societal trust? That’s a solid “No.”  Here’s why.

It seems only one trust conversation was missing at Davos, and probably the most important one: How do we move our societal institutions from trust buzz to trust action? And that was the ONLY conversation at Sovad.

So while the fine food and drink flowed, and the planes stayed warm on the tarmac in Switzerland, the Sovad attendees arrived by auto and took the following action over a burger and a beer:

With no revenue generating agenda, we created 12 universal principles for elevating trust and began asking those who didn’t travel to Europe, how that “trust thing” is working in their organization. After all, isn’t that where trust starts (and ends)? Apparently, we struck a chord as over 35,000 unassuming folks from around the world have joined the conversation.

Will you take our brand new (one question/one minute) survey? Find out how your organization compares to others.

Note: Some believe that this year’s gathering was a disappointment on many fronts. Perhaps the word “trust” was simply a placeholder until a “real” topic can be identified for 2020. Kenneth Rogoff, the Harvard economist, summed it up: “This is the flattest Davos I can remember. Normally, there is a star country or a star industry that everybody is talking about. But this year, there is nothing.”

Could it be that the “nothing” has “something” to do with trust?

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is an award-winning communications executive and the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. A former consultant to McKinsey and many Fortune 500 CEOs and their firms, Barbara also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance, and is the editor of the award-winning TRUST INC. book series and TRUST! Magazine. In 2012 she was named one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International, and in 2017 she became a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute. Barbara holds a BA in International Affairs and an MBA. Don’t forget to TAP into Trust!

For more information contact barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

Copyright(c) 2019, Next Decade, Inc.

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Jan
24

This is a timely article about what trust is and what it isn’t! 

www.fcpablog.com/blog/2019/1/24/five-stupid-ideas-about-trust-in-business.html

Barbara Brooks Kimmel, pictured above left, is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. She also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance and is the editor of the award-winning TRUST INC. book series. In 2017 she was named a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute, and in 2012 she was recognized as one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International.

Charles H. Green, above right, is an author, speaker and world expert on trust-based relationships and sales in complex businesses. Founder and CEO of Trusted Advisor Associates, he is author of Trust-based Selling, and co-author of The Trusted Advisor and the Trusted Advisor Fieldbook. He majored in philosophy (Columbia), and has an MBA (Harvard). He has authored articles in Harvard Business Review, Directorship Magazine, Management Consulting News, CPA Journal, American Lawyer, Investments and Wealth Monitor, and Commercial Lending Review.

 

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Jan
06

How can organizations ensure that

red lights turn green in 2019?

 

Please share your ideas.

 

 


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Dec
07

Ten years ago, in the wake of the financial crisis, I undertook a study of organizational trust. Ten years later, and with the assistance of hundreds of global experts, I offer the following observations gleaned over the past decade.

Organizational trust is built over time and in incremental steps. There are simply no shortcuts.

Trust facts:

Organizational trust is an “inside out” strategy built through…

  1. A shared purpose and tactical vision acknowledging all stakeholders, not just shareholders
  2. A high integrity/high accountability board and CEO
  3. Long-term and corporate-wide intentional trust building strategies
  4. Daily reinforcement
  5. Hiring (and firing) in accordance with corporate values
  6. Rejection of hidden agendas
  7. Vulnerability and a willingness to admit mistakes
  8. Transparency, truth telling and promises kept
  9. Rewarding moral character
  10. Trust measurement and tracking

Recently my colleagues and I have witnessed some “sloppy” use of the word “trust” via short-term thinking attempts to provide quick and easy illusory measurements and solutions.

Trust Fiction:

Trust is not built through…

  1. Delegation of trust building to middle management or online ethics training modules
  2. Expensive and slick PR or “branding” campaigns
  3. CEO activism unrelated to the business
  4. CSR “one off” projects and ESG “check the box” practices
  5. Self-fulfilling surveys, reports and “best of” awards
  6. Philanthropy
  7. Empty apologies, lots of talk and little action
  8. Social media “strategies” and buzz words
  9. More rules and larger legal departments
  10. Short-term share price action

There are no short-term solutions to building a trustworthy business. Attempting to cut corners not only wastes time and resources but damages reputation.  For those Boards and CEOs who want to learn more, check back next week when we offer 12 free tools to elevate trust in every organization, regardless of size, industry or location.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is an award-winning communications executive and the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. A former consultant to McKinsey and many Fortune 500 CEOs and their firms, Barbara also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance, and is the editor of the award-winning TRUST INC. book series and TRUST! Magazine. In 2012 she was named one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International, and in 2017 she became a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute. Barbara holds a BA in International Affairs and an MBA. Don’t forget to TAP into Trust!

For more information contact barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

Copyright(c) 2018, Next Decade, Inc.

 

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Sep
12

Having studied trust for over ten years, one thing has become crystal clear. When people trust you (or your brand), their confidence in you (and your products) will increase, and they will be more inclined to do business with you.

Salesforce Research (2018) surveyed over 6,700 consumers and business buyers globally to better understand the modern customer mindset. What do these new norms mean for companies that are vying for their business and their trust? Much of this experience is rooted in trust: 95% of customers say that if they trust a company, they’re more likely to be loyal patrons.

LinkedIn claims to have more than 500 million users in 200 countries, and it can be a very powerful marketing tool, IF it is used properly. The following are ten tips to build trust on LinkedIn:

  1. Begin with a clearly defined “principle based” LinkedIn marketing strategy, making the focus your targeted customer base, not you.
  2. Communicate authentically. Your beliefs and principles must align with your actions.
  3. Become the “go to” person in your area of expertise by publishing well-written original thought leadership pieces rather than an announcement of your next speaking engagement.
  4. Every post should focus on solving customer (or potential customer) problems.
  5. Share relevant, high quality content, even if it is from a competitor. Shine a spotlight on thought leadership written and posted by employees.
  6. Remain humble. Don’t get caught in the insincere “honored” and “humbled” trap to promote your upcoming gig or your most recent award.
  7. Before your next post answer this question: “Who cares (other than you and your mother)?”
  8. Engage your audience by asking them for input and feedback.
  9. In this age of rapidly evolving social “activism” pick your photo captions carefully. For example, does your photo show a room full of men with no female presence? Does it just show you?
  10. You are the company you keep. Make sure the posts you are “liking” reflect positively on your brand. (And instead of simply “liking” a post, leave a thoughtful comment.)

Having been an active LinkedIn member for many years, the balance may be shifting away from thought leadership towards a new (and free) form of billboard advertising. If this perception is accurate, LinkedIn will surely (and quickly) lose its value as a marketing tool.

In summary, if the focus is simply “You,” maybe it’s time to rethink your LinkedIn marketing strategy. Start by making “trust building” your core focus.

What other suggestions do you have for building trust on LinkedIn? Leave your comments.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is an award-winning communications executive and the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. A former consultant to McKinsey and many Fortune 500 CEOs and their firms, Barbara also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance, and is the editor of the award-winning TRUST INC. book series and TRUST! Magazine. In 2012 she was named one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International, and in 2017 she became a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute. Barbara holds a BA in International Affairs and an MBA. Don’t forget to TAP into Trust! For more information contact barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

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Jul
18

Papa John’s is the latest to call for trust “reconstruction” from the inside out. A quick review of recent news headlines also mentions the EPA after Pruitt, Michigan State’s new athletic director, the Charlottesville police department, Samsung, and Wells Fargo, among others, all calling for trust rebuilding.

At first glance, the obvious recipients of that “first” phone call might be: PR firms and ad agencies, crisis management firms, risk experts, monitors or watchdogs, lawyers or compliance consultants. Yet every one of those choices will result in a “Band-Aid” fix, at best.

For an organization to rebuild trust, the first decision is not who gets the phone call, but who makes it. That first call must originate from the top, and be made to a professional firm with expertise in organizational trust. When that call is delegated to communications, legal or compliance, the chances of obtaining a long-term desired outcome are greatly reduced.

Trust building (and rebuilding) is an intentional holistic exercise. It can’t be pushed down the chain of command and it can only be fixed by the “right” people. Trust can’t be rebuilt with a press conference or an ad campaign, and it does take time.

These 12 Principles called TAP, were developed over the course of a year by a global group of ethics and trust professionals who comprise our Trust Alliance. They are currently available in 14 languages as free PDF downloads and serve as a great starting place and a clear roadmap to building and rebuilding trust. A variety of complimentary tools are also available on our website at trustacrossamerica.com and our Trust Alliance members may also be in a position to help.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. A former consultant to McKinsey and many Fortune 500 CEOs and their firms, Barbara also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance, and is the editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series and TRUST! Magazine. In 2012 she was named one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International, and in 2017 she became a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute. Barbara holds a BA in International Affairs and an MBA. For more information contact barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

Copyright (c) 2018, Next Decade, Inc.

 

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