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Archive for the ‘Consumers’ Category

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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Jan
06

How can organizations ensure that

red lights turn green in 2019?

 

Please share your ideas.

 

 


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Jan
05

 

You have been the victim of a major trust breach and you may not know it.

 

To how many of the following do you subscribe? If you are reading this, you certainly have an account with at least one of these services! Were you notified about the attacks that stole both your email address AND your password?

 

  • Adobe: 153 million accounts
  • Bitly: 9.3 million accounts
  • Disqus: 17.5 million accounts
  • Forbes: 1 million accounts
  • LinkedIn: 164 million accounts
  • Dropbox: 68 million accounts
  • Ancestry: 297,806

You can view the full list here. In total and as of this moment, 517,238,891 passwords have been exposed to data breaches.

Source: www.haveIbeenpwned.com

I was not aware of the magnitude of this problem until yesterday’s most recent “spoof” appeared in my inbox demanding a bitcoin ransom. I’ve received a few in the past, (after the first one it becomes less scary!) but this was different. Not only was it sent from my OWN email address, but it contained an old password that I had used to register for some of the services shown above.

Before you freak out about the next ransomware demand coming to your inbox, check this website to see if you’ve been “had.” Chances are you have, and it’s time to stop using the same old passwords.

Find this information valuable?

Please consider making a small donation by clicking here!

 

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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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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Aug
04

A simple message for the C-Suite…

Rules, regulations and policies are not substitutes for trust, ethics or corporate responsibility.

I would like to pose one question to each of the following five CEOs whose organizations hijacked my time this week:

JP Morgan Chase and Jamie Dimon: Do you think your policy of cancelling a widow’s credit card within two weeks of the death of their spouse, and with no notice, is the “right thing” to do simply because they are not the “primary?” It hasn’t been too long since you lost your parents. What if it was your mother who had been embarrassed at CVS over an $8.00 purchase on her Chase credit card?

Comcast and Brian Roberts: If I must have a landline for Triple Play, might you have an ethical responsibility to find a way to stop the dozens of robocalls that plague me every day? Surely, the expense of doing so would be far less than the “intangible” customer loyalty that could be quickly built.

Wolverine and Blake Krueger: Do you want to build or bust trust with your customers?  Your reps are demanding that I first buy a new pair of Sperrys online, cut the tongues out of my existing loafers, send you a picture, and then your company will reimburse me for YOUR shoes that fell apart 4 weeks after purchasing them. Why would I EVER buy another pair of shoes from you again?

State Farm and Michael Tipsord: When did you decide that cutting corners in hiring and training, (and probably hourly wages) in your claims department was “good” ethics, and do they get a bonus for making stuff up?

Blue Cross of NJ and Kevin Conlin (who recently replaced Robert Marino:) Do you care that your customers are miserable because you get so few things right? The most recent example being when you denied coverage because “another policy was in place” even though a termination letter was provided to you. A simple check of your internal records would have revealed that the “old” policy was also with YOUR company. Now the loyal customer has NO coverage due to your internal snafu.

Trust Across America-Trust Around the World and its Trust Alliance has recently published a set of universal Principles called TAP. One of the 12 principles is Purpose:

We engage our stakeholders to build shared purpose – we avoid short term “wins” that undermine future success.

You can read more about TAP in the latest issue of TRUST! Magazine.

After 10+ years of studying organizational trust, one thing is for certain. Trust and ethics are a “top-down” strategy. Without buy-in from the CEO, watch out below and “buyer beware.” The silver lining…not all companies (or their leaders) are created equal. Some have proactively embraced elevating stakeholder trust and ethics, and they are reaping the long-term rewards.

Who do you think will be the first of the five CEOs to publicly respond? Do you have any examples (good or bad) that you would like to add to this list?

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.

Photo Attribution: Alpha Stock Images – alphastockimages.com/

 

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Mar
25

 

Did Mark Zuckerberg breach trust? 

Facebook won the “breach of trust award” last week, but was it justified?

If you are a Facebook user, have you read the company’s data policy? Perhaps doing so would have elevated your awareness of the risks involved in using this popular social media tool.

Have you ever taken one of those free “silly” Facebook quizzes? Did you think they were being provided for your amusement, especially in cases where the user was paid to complete it?

A recent opinion piece in the Washington Post raised the following points?

Those who enter the ecosystem of social networking should not suddenly be shocked that information is being shared.

This transfer of data to a third party (Cambridge Analytica) broke Facebook’s internal policies. In 2015, Facebook found out, removed the app and demanded the data be destroyed. 

However, users must be realistic. Social media platforms are in business to share. Anyone who spends time browsing online will soon discover hidden sinews that connect each click.

The Washington Post article can be read at this link.

I’m all for elevating trust and the first to admit that this example has me thinking twice. Did Facebook make mistakes by not ensuring that the data was destroyed. Yes. But perhaps this was as much a learning experience for Mark Zuckerberg as it was for Facebook users. After all, no company (or leader) is perfect. Understanding the risks, maybe too much trust was extended by Facebook’s users.

Did Zuckerberg breach trust? What do you think?

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 & Company, 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. She holds a BA in International Affairs from Lafayette College and an MBA from Baruch at the City University of NY.

For more information visit our website at www.trustacrossamerica.com

or contact barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

You may also join our Constant Contact mailing list for updates on our progress.

Copyright (c) 2018, Next Decade, Inc.

 

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Feb
24

According to this recent article from the Stanford Social Innovation Review, 9 out of 10 consumers want to make purchases that reflect their values. If trust is an important value to you, read on.

In 2010 Trust Across America introduced the FACTS® Framework, a holistic unbiased barometer of the corporate integrity of America’s largest 2000 US public companies. The Framework identifies companies whose leadership is going beyond doing what is legal to choosing what is right in meeting all stakeholder needs. This, by order of magnitude, is the most comprehensive and data driven ongoing study on this subject. We analyze quarterly and rank order by company, sector and market capitalization. We are particularly interested in tracking individual companies and sector trends over time.

Understanding that brick and mortar retailers face increasing challenges, we took a closer look at how some retailers stack up in our Trust Metrics. These are our findings.

 

This chart reflects 5-year average (2012-2017) scores of corporate trustworthiness. Trust Across America will be completing its 2018 analysis in April. Given this knowledge, I might choose TJX and Target over Dillard’s and Abercrombie. How about you?

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 & Co., 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. She holds a BA in International Affairs from Lafayette College and an MBA from Baruch at the City University of NY.

Join our Constant Contact mailing list for updates on our progress.

Contact me for more information.

Copyright 2018 Next Decade, Inc.

 

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