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Ask most Americans which companies they trust and the same names will surface: Apple, Google, Amazon, and maybe even Walmart.

But when pressed as to why, the answer is usually something like this:

  • I trust Apple because they have innovative products.
  • I trust Google because their search feature is easy to use.
  • I trust Amazon to deliver my packages very quickly.
  • I trust Walmart to have the lowest prices.

So does this mean these companies should be trusted? Sounds more to me like we are talking about customer loyalty or brand loyalty and not so much about trust.

In fact, many would argue that these four are far from trustworthy.  Just ask Apple’s factory workers, Google’s privacy critics, Amazon’s publishers or Walmart’s suppliers what they think.

So let’s not generalize the word “trust.” If we are going to talk about it, we need to clarify what we really mean!

Earlier today I read the following article about how IBM can help Apple with its trust issues. It sheds a bit more light on the confusion between brand loyalty and trust.

And my friend Charlie Green recently wrote this blog post called If Trust Is So Far Down, How Come– which confirms the need to use the correct terminology.

What do you think? Do we have a definitional issue, and if so, how do we overcome it?

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the Executive Director of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. She is also the editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series. In 2012 Barbara was named “One of 25 Women Changing the World” by Good Business International.

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Should you wish to communicate directly with Barbara, drop her a note at Barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

Copyright © 2014, Next Decade, Inc.



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2 Responses to “The Confusion Between Trust & Customer Loyalty”

  1. September 11th, 2014 at 13:39 | #1

    Trust IS an interesting word. I love it.

    Well, maybe I don’t, because I won’t talk about it much…

    But LOVE also substitutes for TRUST in your examples. “I love Apple because of innovation and I love Google to find crap and I love Amazon to find a lot of things.” But I also love Samsung because they are amzingly innovative and I use BING because Google is too big and I use Half.com for my book purchases because I love their prices and don’t mind used books.

    Read the article about the workplace conditions of these warehouse shipping organizations (Wage Slave at Mother Jones) or see the living wages issues at Walmart and so many other organizations and what happens to the “trust thing” then.

    CVS Caremark is renamed CVS Health. “Helping People to Better Health.” I would love and trust them more if they provided healthcare to their workers instead of keeping them all at 30 hours or less with their brand new payroll control software…

    So, interesting thoughts, Barbara, about customer loyalty and trust. I love that stuff along witht he thinking it generates. (grin)

    We should talk like this more often!


  2. September 11th, 2014 at 14:01 | #2

    Scott- I would love and trust CVS more if they competently filled prescriptions. If they can’t get that right, what makes them think people will “trust” them with their health?

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