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