Brands: Trust is Hard to Gain and Easy to Lose

Trust in Business RelationshipCan we trust your brand? Trust is more than just reputation and credibility. Your reputation is a reflection of your actions and achievements to-date. Trust is more about what we should expect from your business in the future. Credibility is only one attribute required to gain trust. Trust is hard to gain and easy to lose. So understanding the importance of trust and how to develop and keep it can make a huge impact in business.

Trust has to be earned

Webster’s defines trust as: “Assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.” No mention of expertise here. Studies indicate that boasting expertise will not necessarily earn trust, however a good balance of the following four components will be important for developing genuine trust.

Four important components for developing trust include:

1. Credibility – Behaviour, product knowledge, skills, and ability all contribute to a customer experience that will lead to gaining trust.

2. Reliability – Consistency and predictability combined with reporting and data to prove results will always help to win trust.

3. Intimacy – Contrary to what you might think, people want to trust your brand. The relationship(s) you build will determine the level of trust.

4. Focus – One easy way to lose trust is to focus more on your products and services than on your customers needs. Understanding their needs will help to build trust and confidence.

Gaining trust

Trust can’t be bought (thank goodness). It has to be earned. So what can your business do to gain the trust of your clients, prospects, shareholders and employees? PR firm Edelman conducted one of the largest ever surveys on trust – The 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer identified five key performance areas essential for building trust.

Business trust performance attributes

Action plan for building trust:

1. Operate with integrity

Integrity forms the foundation for a trustworthy culture. From the CEO through to the interns, let the company’s integrity speak for itself.

2. Create brand awareness

It’s no secret that people feel comfortable doing business with a brand they know. If your brand is recognized for its integrity it will be easier to build trust.

3. Be transparent

Transparency is a required expectation now. Ethical and transparent business practices aren’t optional anymore.

4. Deliver on promises

Set realistic expectations and endeavor to meet and exceed them. Consistently delivering on time, fulfilling orders, and sticking to deadlines will help develop a level of reliability that your clients can count on and recommend.

5. Make your purpose clear

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. When your market understands the ‘why’ and not just the ‘what’, there will be more reasons to trust your brand and what it stands for.

6. Be available

Reply to emails promptly, deal with complaints swiftly and listen for brand mentions on social media for opportunities to develop trust on an international stage.



Trust is hard to gain and easy to lose. Building and maintaining trust isn’t a project with a completion date. It’s a work in progress that requires diligence, integrity and consistency. Listening to your customers needs and prioritizing them ahead of profit is a great way to develop lasting trust that leads to business growth and positive sentiment.

Any brands gain your trust recently? Our readers would love to hear your comments below about actions or behaviours that won your trust. If you enjoyed reading this article, I hope you’ll subscribe to my weekly Social Strategies blog. Please consider sharing this article to help promote a trust culture in business. For a snapshot of the current state-of-trust enjoy Edelman’s quick video below. Thanks for reading, sharing and commenting.

Image credits [Flickr, Edelman] Video [Edelman – YouTube]

Matt Crawford

Matt Crawford

Digital Media Advisor at Social Strategies
Matt Crawford is a marketing executive with an accomplished career in digital media sales. His background is in the B2B sector and he has extensive experience in retail management and hospitality. Matt has worked with national and international brands as well as small to medium enterprises to help develop effective digital marketing strategies. His down to earth approach makes it easy for businesses to communicate their objectives and consequently achieve their goals.
Matt Crawford
Matt Crawford
Matt Crawford

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