Take Competency. Doing the job properly, essentially. Consistently proving your ability to provide the product or service your brand offers, day-in, day-out.
If you do not have a proven track record of getting the job done and providing that service/product, you will be perceived as incompetent. Customers get frustrated, angry and ultimately lose trust.
So, businesses need to nail their basic competencies from the bottom up: looking at infrastructure, culture, systems, processes, teams, the list goes on.
A business that does this fantastically well is Ocado. Very recently, when every other supermarket seemed to be in meltdown by limiting online orders, they kept delivering over and above the likes of the Big Five.
It’s worth noting also that whilst all these things take huge amounts of time, money and effort to get right, ultimately, like a well-made film, you don't want anyone to take notice of the production required to get it right.
Because the minute a customer notices it, they've been snagged by an obstacle, an incompetency, in the process. Attentions divert to the bad things, rather than the good.
So, for this first stage of trust to really sing, a business can’t just be perceived as operationally ‘good’. Competency has to radiate from the inside-out.
Next up, Character. Competence is a real necessity for trust. But on its own, it's not nearly enough.
A competent brand that has bad Character e.g. is disloyal to customers, treats them poorly or is disrespectful, is simply not trusted by their customers.
If customers are going to trust a brand, they need to understand how it behaves. What’s the brand’s response when something goes wrong? How do they reward loyal customers? And what can they expect from the brand in times of need?
An example. ‘We’re on your side’, Lloyd’s Bank tell us. But if they don’t deliver on that promise, they will only break the trust that might have been already formed through competent delivery of service.
This is where a brand’s values come into play, as a demonstration of character.
By setting the standards for their organisation, brands can set the principles by which they handle customer complaints, the process for when something goes wrong, or the way they celebrate a customer’s long-time relationship with them.