Brand is based on perceptions.
The greatest of these is trust.
If there is no trust, there is no positive brand. (Video Link) BUT there can be negative brand. Seldom if ever does a brand exist that is trusted by 100% of the populace. Even within the target audience for the product or service there will always be some that don’t get the message. There will be group that is not on board for many reasons chief of those being a negative experience.
Consider the current approval ratings of the Trump administration. More importantly, consider the desperate straits of leadership in the departments of the federal government where A and B list candidates are scorning appointments and refusing to serve.
When less than 50% of the population trusts you, you have a brand problem.
Trust and consequently Brand are dynamic.
Trust can change as quickly as new information becomes available and in today’s world that is just a tweet away. It doesn’t matter who tweets as we have seen over and over since Trump took office.
More importantly Brand can be impacted by any information presented to the audience whether it is “fair and balanced” or more blatant false news. The problem is that the same information causes diametrically opposed reactions depending on which part of the audience you poll. The level of Trust can shift just by which side presents the information.
Trust and Brand are situation specific
Either side, with privileged information, might have an advantage over the other. New information can reverse the situation. Sometimes the data can overlap. Whatever the truth may be, when the populace is divided and polarized the two sides will both claim victory and cite their perception of brand as righteous.
Even when one side is forced to retract their actions they will continue to claim their deeds were justified. Look at the comments that followed a judge’s ruling that the children of families seeking asylum here in the USA had to be returned to their parents.
Even the Trump oriented news organizations rightfully called it a backlash. What they aren’t mentioning is the backlash about treating asylum seekers as criminals. The most descriptive phrase for that is “anti-American.”
Trust and Brand are social or relational constructs.
That means that win or lose you have to play the game. If one side or the other refuse to engage the game is over. Only one brand will continue. If one side does not stand up for what it believes the other will slowly become dominant. Both sides need to be heard. Both need to listen. And both need to consider their actions as well as their words.
Trump advocates continue to say, “He’s doing what he said he would do.” That is true. How he is doing it is another matter. That is not going unnoticed. His loyalty to long term associates is being called into question now daily. Breeches of long-term American values are being noticed by everyone.
Getting to Trust and Brand is based on maintaining certain attributes over time.
The most important part of those components is credibility. People have to believe that your word is your bond. They want to believe they can believe you. To establish credibility you have to be real. you have to be trustworthy. And you need to be the same over time.
But being those things are dependent on how the audience perceives you. Right now, there are friends and neighbors of yours that will say that the current man in office meets all these qualifications. He is authentic. There are few if any like him. But he is not consistent. He is anything but. And when it comes to integrity, I would rather be his enemy than his friend. In short, I cannot trust him and for me that generates a negative brand.
Trust generates positive Brand.
You will have a Brand whether you want one or not.
A negative Brand will spawn terrorists that will do everything in their power to bring you and your organization/government/business down.
Yes, you can have a positive Brand and that will pay you dividends.
Positive Brand advocates will stay with you through the tough times refusing to buy in to another product or service or ideology. They will stay with you until you can match or beat the opposition as long as you don’t betray their Trust.
What is your stand on Trust and Brand?
Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com
His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development for independent professionals on and off-line.