Many brands come and go, and a few even stand the test of time. An even smaller number are among those that customers truly consider to be trustworthy. Why do we trust certain brands, and distrust others? It boils down to whether we perceive the company acts in our best interest, or in theirs.

An April 2012 article in the Orange County Register profiles the Values Institute, headed by Mike Weisman and Chesley Beaver, which studied our feelings about trust and major brands. According to the Values Institute, the five components of trust are “ability, concern, connection, consistency, and sincerity.” If companies score high in these categories, they are very likely to connect with customers on an emotional level and therefore have their business.

Companies that scored high in this national study include Amazon, Ford, Apple, FedEx, Nike, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Southwest Airlines, Target, and Nordstrom. These companies are appealing because they cater to the customers’ wants and needs. Beyond simply providing quality coffee, Starbucks also offers free wi-fi and comfy seating. Southwest Airlines makes hiring friendly employees a priority, and doesn’t charge for luggage.

Even if a company scores lower in some categories, they can often make up for the deficit by scoring higher in other categories. For example, Nike does not score particularly well in the category “company behaves responsibly” (due to its sketchy history with factories in developing nations), but nevertheless delivers good products and has done so for many years.

If you want to connect with customers and prove to them that you are a trustworthy company, you must be a trustworthy company. Deliver on what you promise, show that you care about what your customer cares about, and be consistent.

John Bradley Jackson
Entrepreneur, Professor, Author
Deja New Marketing
© Copyright 2012

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