We’ve stopped what we are doing and creating your personalized BrandZ™ report, which will appear in your inbox soon.

Once an outcome, earned over time, brand trust today is a prerequisite

Brand Building Best Practices

Trust | In a skeptical age

Once an outcome,

 earned over time,

brand trust today

is a prerequisite

With key activities, brands

can “manufacture” trust

by Aditi Anand

Associate, Strategic Planning

Rediffusion Y&R


There was a time when trust was organic. Companies like Amul built trust for years and years, with generation after generation, to become the No. 1 choice of dairy brand. That was hard-earned trust. The kind of trust we only hear our grandparents and parents talk about today. Trust was an outcome back then. One would buy a product, spend time with it, find satisfaction, and as a result build trust in the brand. That age is over.

The “fingertips generation” can’t quite grasp that kind of trust. It’s not news that the age we live in is engulfed in skepticism, mistrust, and doubt. Young people don’t have the time or the loyalty to adopt a particular brand anymore. The brand must figure out ways and means of fitting itself into the lives of consumers. The message from a consumer to brands today is simple: "Be useful to me, simplify my life and then I’ll adopt you. And if you really meet my expectations, I’ll endorse you too.”

This forces brands that have managed to resonate with consumers in the past decade to completely change their game plan. Trust today is manufactured. It’s constantly being worked on, strategized, and fabricated further on behalf of brands by digital wizards and social media magicians.

No time to earn trust

There’s no time to wait for a generation to pass on their tips and nuskhas (formulas) for brands to religiously follow. It’s better to emulate brands that have been able to manufacture trust and amass significant numbers of believers by adopting all the right strategies.

Google proves its worth and relevance to our lives continuously by creating new avenues to become even more indispensable to us. Its recent launch of “Neighbourly,” the hyper-local community app, is a testament to how handy it can be to link us with the nearest chaiwaala (tea seller) or the closest car servicing in our respective vicinities. It’s no wonder we’re all living “The Google Life.” And it’s no surprise, therefore, that we are more than happy to hand over our personal data. After all, what’s a little privacy in the face of such a trusted brand that is trying to make my life easier?

After a series of unfortunate events, Uber realized women in Delhi felt unsafe with Uber drivers. The brand took action to link up with the Delhi police. This led to in-app features designed to help protect women. The action does not change the controversies and incidents, but it does help rebuild trust in the brand.

From outcome to input

Trust is essential for brand-building today. No matter how technologically bound, pragmatic, and time-crunched consumer become, brands can’t stop at just building transactional relationships without also building trust.

Consumers today want more. They no longer want brands to merely state features and move on. Increasingly, consumers are buying into the world of the brand, the inspired story behind its birth, values, beliefs and practices. A world they can trust in.


Therefore, while trust was an outcome of the brand relationship in an earlier era, trust is an ingredient and an input today. An input that has to be manufactured in the first place so that consumers can buy into the brand. Manufacturing trust depends on many brand activities such as these:

  1. Humanize the brand Develop a real connection with consumers. Amazon connected with Indian consumers with its Apni Dukaan (Your Shop) campaign, which made shopping with a global internet brand as familiar, easy, and trustworthy as walking to the nearby store.

  1. Associate with a cause Stand for something larger than the product. Align the values of the brand with those of the customer. For example, the apparel brand H&M communicates about the sustainability of its supply chain, from sourcing to product recycling.

  1. Personalize the story When a brand goes out of its way to talk to me, in a sea of similar products, then the brand’s really won me over. Ariel detergent could have stuck to being only a remover of stubborn stains, but it chose to empathize with women in its campaign where men “Share the load.

  1. Add convenience How can a brand help me make the most of my life? The likes of digital wallet Paytm, and Walnut, a money management app, revolutionized my finances with impeccable functionality.

  1. Build a community Greater the numbers, stronger the trust. OnePlus, the handset brand, demonstrated the power of creating a community of believers. Without spending a rupee on marketing, the brand managed to make a sizeable dent in the handset market.