[BLOG] Brand communication: When trust is violated
Trust is a social capital. Often it may be stronger in weight than any other factors which dictate brand’s well-being. Someone has noted ‘we may not be able to measure the value of trust in a relationship but often we know the cost of it when violated’. Most times we undervalue what trust may cost us. Most people who had violated trust assume they have the capacity to handle the damage. In few instances, brand’s estimation of value of trust may be close to reality but it is virtually impossible to understand the trans-generational effect of violation of trust.
For brands and most especially for brand communicators, trust is the foundation of all business engagement. Trust is also the basis of any viable collaboration among the brand’s stakeholders. In any leadership endeavour, the ability to build trust is central to its success. When there is trust, people forgive generously as they are not out to look for the downfall of other party. Each party’s effort is geared toward making the relationship work.
So in another words, trust is related to feeling and the disposition of the people involved in a relationship and is to an extent a learned social behaviour. Trust is never given; it is earned over a period of time through consistent action which follows a pattern of behaviour.
As an individual, I have taken time to follow the crisis Nigerians have with the present Government which is now generating protest and other forms of crises. We are also looking at resources on trust. One thing is clear, every brand, business that had been involved in trust abuses of any form should urgently reassess its position. A day of reckoning is near and if it arrives, many covered issues will surface.
Today, the breadwinner is no longer the only decision maker. The day of thinking along this line is gone for good. The power of the people is now greater than the power of the leader. The case of Nigeria today is nothing less than a progressive abuse of trust which has now escalated other issues. When brand leadership is not trusted, the other parties in the scheme of things consider the enterprise as ‘they’ and not us.
So what happens if trust is violated? Here are my thoughts.
Bond of relationship is broken: brand at the basis of it is nothing more than relationship. Without emotional connection with brand’s vision and value, there will be no brand. The cord of brand’s relationship is thin but stronger when in place. Brand custodians and communicators should consistently guide and strengthen the cord of trust.
Commitment becomes zero: A relationship or brand entity can only survive on commitment. Commitment speaks volume when we think of loyalty, dedication and devotion. Since brands cannot be successful without commitment of all the stakeholders, brand’s initiative may become frustrated.
Future relationship is undermined: When a brand violates trust, it will affect future relationship with all the parties involved. Each step taken will be scrutinized based on antecedents. It will take a long while before the brand can recover. As we know, many brands never recover. If in doubt, ask Enron.
Leadership becomes a burden: as soon as brand trust is violated, brand leadership becomes a burden. In cases where there is a change in management team, the new team will inherit a burden which will take time to erase. To verify this claim, one may need to ask Finance Minister-Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala despite her perceived loyalty to the Country, what her experience was in the past few days.
Many wash dirty linen in the public: Have you seen where divorce process goes sour among people? In many instances, when a concerned party tries to justify his/her decision before third party, they often divulge certain stuffs they had covered up in order to save the relationship. This is done to solicit support or understanding from the external party but in most cases such exclusive information smears the relationship image.
The conclusion today is never undervalues the impact of trust.
Yinka Olaito is happy,excited and passionate Brand Communication, Social Media expert, Trainer and speaker. Yinka Olaito helps brands(Profits and Non-profits)with effective communication and positioning for premium service delivery and returns.Yinka Olaito also has special interest in Development Communication and has consulted for noted UN Agencies. Yinka Olaito is the CCO of Michael Sage consulting and African Child Right Inc.Lagos Nigeria.
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This article was originally posted on Nigeria Business Communities