If I’ve learned anything over the years, it is that people — given a choice — will only work with other people they trust.
The same goes for buying things. I will visit the dollar store weekly. I will buy markers there, shampoo and foil pans and party supplies. I will not buy vitamins, hair dye or “what-a-bargain” iPhone AC adapters.
Speaking of the dollar store, my daughter and I watched a couple shoplift there the other day. It wasn’t clear if they were poor, or if they just didn’t have the patience to wait.
It may be that the store, being as it was in a “nice area,” simply trusted its customers.
Trust is a hard thing to earn, and it’s very easily lost. The funny thing is, you can’t buy it the way you can buy a good designer.
Have I mentioned that my favorite new brand is water, only because of the package design?
Let’s talk about the water for a second: I buy it expecting that there is no special quality about the stuff, despite what they write on the label.
That lack of trust — it is a kind of trust as well: As long as you, the brand producer or the employer, do not betray me, we’re good.
I think about this when I think about corporate communications.
There is always the tug of war.
On the one side there are those who would say as little as possible. They don’t want to make promises, they don’t want to create liability where before none existed.
On the other there are those who seek the closest possible relationship with the customer. They’ll speak in the closest, most confessional tone, about the highlights and the screw-ups alike. Anything to bond the people behind the brand, with the people who consume it.
In the end there is no “one right way” to build trust with the customer. There isn’t a magic formula to follow, or a set of five bullet points to always keep in mind.
For me, I begin with a question: Would my mother believe this?
I’ve used this simple “smell test” for over twenty years.
Never, never once, has it ever proven wrong.
And many times, I didn’t listen.
By Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are the author’s own; this blog is posted in the author’s personal capacity. Available for reuse under Creative Commons 3.0. Public domain photo via Pixabay.
By Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are the author’s own; this blog is posted in the author’s personal capacity. Available for reuse under Creative Commons 3.0 License. For more information, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us/.