Trust. It’s the foundation of any relationship, whether husband and wife, a politician and their constituents or friend to friend. Anyone in a business partnership knows how important it is. But have you taken time to think about the importance of trust when it comes to your business’ brand?
Trust is critical in today’s competitive market. We’re consistently bombarded with stories about fake charities preying on our emotions and taking money, business leaders who mislead their investors or corporations who harm the environment.
It’s hard to deny that a solid business reputation is difficult to come by. But it’s critical for companies and nonprofits to establish trust immediately—especially online. It’s a key characteristic that factors into a consumer’s buying decision, how employees feel about working for you and how competitors see you.
Some argue that brands can earn trust by focusing on individuals—forming personal relationships and special experiences. When you add a “human element” through personal branding, individualized customer service and online engagement, your company’s perceived level of trustworthiness will skyrocket.
What’s another effective means to creating trust? Philanthropy. There is solid proof that giving back will improve your brand: Research shows that business leaders who commit to practicing ethical behaviors inspire customers and employees to think more positively about the organization and instill a level of trust and confidence.
But a commitment to giving back is just the beginning. You must follow through and deliver on the promise. Regardless of if your company actively gives back or if you’re contemplating where to start, consider how these philanthropic actions can stimulate trust:
- Match donations: Let employees and customers see that you care just as much as they do—and that you deserve their trust.
- Get on the ground: Volunteering in-person with a local organization leads to better engagement and stronger relationships. (Remember that “human element” piece?)
- Partner with other organizations: When two companies with alternative viewpoints, mission statements or objectives team up, it shows that you want to make a positive change no matter what.
At the end of the day, charitable giving is good for the bottom line. Not only do you feel good about your contributions, but it helps convince consumers that the company and its services or products are trustworthy and put forth with good intention.
How does your brand inspire trust? And how will you continue to be a reliable, dependable and honest business in 2017?