As professional communicators, we are acutely aware of the importance of trust in building our organizations reputations to achieve whatever outcomecommercial or otherwisewere seeking to achieve, whether it be increasing donations for a nonprofit, enhancing purchase consideration, changing peoples behavior for a government agency, or gaining positive word-of-mouth (and votes) if youre a political party.
Trust is the currency of todays socially connected world. Its where the marketing and communication rubber hits the road.
But we cant buy trust. It needs to be earned, and this is where so many brands come undone. Because earning trust is hard on many fronts, and it requires a whole-of-organization approach.
The erosion of trust comes from a fundamental misalignment of actions with words, from the top right through to the bottom of the organization. Critically, this can compound any existing lack of trust, leading to a widespread freefall of trust in a brand if the situation is not rectified.
While we cant stop our clients (or the organizations we work for) from doing stupid things that can lead to the erosion of trustalthough hopefully sometimes we are in a position to influence the outcome for the betterwe can be strategic and proactive in how we help build public and stakeholder trust in our organization, and the people who run it.
Put another way, we shouldnt be overly distracted by the things we have no control over, but instead focus on where we can have a genuine impact, and that is building a reputational garden bed from which to nurture and grow the green shoots of trust.