Is Trust The Elephant In Your Conference Room?
By Mary Aviles
There is no shortage of trust-related media coverage. In fact, we’ve gathered some great source material here.
During a recent client project, we shared this information along with our findings as it related to their industry and consumer trust issues. The client responded with their own research results which positioned them ahead of other industry players on the specific brand attribute of trust. They contended that, as their own results showed, their customers trusted them. So, who’s right? Our secondary research or their primary research?
We both are. It’s admirable that this client is consistently monitoring their performance related to trust among their customers and it’s positive that this performance remains strong. However, it only paints a picture relative to their competitors. Their industry, in particular and as a whole, suffers from the spector of consumer mistrust. And, while this appears to be gradually improving industry-wide, it should not be overlooked. In fact, they would benefit by considering trust as a non-traditional competitor and developing long-term strategies and tactics much as they would do to address a competitive company.
I remember my first exposure to the concept of a non-traditional competitor. I was a baby healthcare marketer and the conference leader presented two case studies as examples:
- Lexus was struggling with increasing luxury vehicle share of market until they realized that prospects were spending the money they’d have used on a second luxury vehicle to buy a vacation home instead.
- Southwest Airlines benefited strategically once they realized and tapped into the section of the market that was driving medium-to-longer distances instead of flying because flying was considered “too expensive.”
In our client’s situation, strategies dedicated toward developing a consistent and reliable transactional relationship with their customers at every touchpoint would go a long way in improving trust, inspiring positive word-of-mouth–making a lasting impact on their overall brand.