In my role as a security professional, I have pondered the various dimensions of trust and have some thoughts on the subject. After all, information security is all about protecting the information entrusted to a business.
Every business transaction requires a measure of trust. If I pay you for a product, I trust that your product has the value that warrants the price you expect and you are trusting that I will pay you what I have promised. Some transactions require more trust than others. For example, a visit to the emergency room versus buying some gum at a convenience store.
Companies use branding to distinguish their products and services and thereby charge a premium. So, in the most basic sense, a brand is a promise of consistency and value. The power of a brand is a measure of the consistency and value in the perceptions of its customers. Brand power has a direct impact on profitability.
Trust requires vulnerability. If I am not in some way vulnerable to you, then I do not have to trust you. Trust also requires predictability. I know that I can trust you because you have been trustworthy before. There is also an element of risk involved. If there is no possible way that you can “rip me off” then I am not vulnerable to you, and do not need to trust you.
Note that the more significant the transactional relationship, the more personal information that is exchanged---requiring more trust as a result. Growing a brand is a not just about acquiring more customers, it’s about creating more and more trust with the customers that we already have, a deeper and more significant relationship with the brand---Customer Obsession.
“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” --Sam Walton