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New Models of Trust

New Models of Trust

Trust is a straightforward concept, but one that’s difficult to master. Few Indian brands have succeeded in growing consumer trust over the past five years, as measured by the proprietary BrandZ™ Trust Index. At the same time, trust remains a key component to driving sustainable brand value growth.

We know this to be true empirically as well as intuitively. The 15 most highly trusted brands in the BrandZ™ India Top 75 have an average Trust Index score of 126.8; the 15 least trusted brands have an average score of 99.7. (The average Trust Index score across all global brands is 100). Taken together, the most highly trusted brands in the Top 75 are worth 129 percent more than the weakest. And in a year when total brand value grew by 6 percent across the Top 75, those highly trusted brands grew at an average of 4.4 percent, while the brands that were weaker on trust grew at an average of 1.8 percent.

The challenge for brands is that it’s hard to aim at building trust directly, certainly in the short term. That’s because trust encompasses a whole host of emotional and rational inputs (including perceptions of a brands’ safety and purpose, as well a customer’s subjective experiences with how well a brand has fulfilled its promises over time).

Perhaps what’s needed is a more holistic way of thinking about trust – one that incorporates brand attributes like Integrity, Inclusion, and Identification, all of which correlate with high Trust Index scores in the Brand Z™ India data.

Integrity is the perception that a brand is open and honest.

Inclusion is the perception that a brand treats all as equals.

Identification is the perception that a brand truly cares for its customers.

Taken together, these attributes are not so much replacements for traditional definitions of trust, so much as they are complements to them. Trust is a multifaceted concept, and as such lends itself to a multifaceted strategic approach.