I attended the Edelman Trust Barometer 2017, the India findings, this evening. This was the first time I was part of the Edelman Trust Barometer briefing. I must confess I was a bit disappointed. I was hoping that the event will delve a little deeper into the topic and provide some specific directions, while I fully understand trust is too vast a topic to cover in a few hours.
The study, which covers business, government, media, and NGOs, found that the trust quotient for each of these constituents has gone significantly up in India, in sharp contrast to the global findings. It was not clear from the study though, at least from the two hour session, the factors driving this rise in India.
I was expecting, especially as this was an Edelman event and for my communication background, discussions around the role of marketing and communication at a time when the trust factor is going southwards (I will take India’s case as an exception for the time being). That I did not get much insights, here are my two cents on this topic, only for the business as a constituent.
Trust, as the Oxford dictionary defines, is “firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something.” And this belief is achieved over a period of time. A brand or a business seldom becomes trusted overnight. It’s a non-stop journey.
In my opinion, the last thing a business should do to build its trust quotient (not perception) is to use marketing. While marketing and communication can be used to amplify and leverage the trust quotient, a business should think at its genetic level – values in this case – to become truly trusted. In today’s world, where consumers, of any kind, have the freedom and option to express their opinions to audiences globally, it is nearly impossible to build the trust factor through marketing ploys. One tweet and it may come crashing down like a pack of cards. Hence the need for businesses to believe in their core values is more than ever before. Live by your value system and the trust quotient will automatically rise, albeit over a certain period.
It’s surely easier said than done, but if you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything, they say.
— Supriyo Kar
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