Consumers have to trust you before they’ll believe you.
The greatest challenge to organizations today isn’t consumer credit or offering the next-next-thing. The supply of both are actually quite plentiful. Certainly, they are necessary to revive economies and build growth; but they’re no longer sufficient.
After nearly a decade of uncertainty (and not just economic), a more valuable currency than cash or coolness is clearly: Trust.
It’s not that trust wasn’t an issue before the global recession. It’s rather that the trust issue – both its strength and deficit – has rarely been deeper or broader in living memory. Social institutions and governments struggle to retain the trust and solidarity of a weary, skeptical public. Companies also find their customers’ trust wavering: or, at the very least, diffused by the volume of voices telling different stories: about the economy, the future, and the decisions to be made.
The good news is that trust really does act like a currency. It can be gained, traded, and most of all: saved. If you’ve spent your effort wisely, investing in reliable, consistent and consumer-centric relationships, your message will stand out easily in the noise. If, on the other hand, your go-to-market strategy is simply be louder, more frequent, or a “call to action” when times are hot, you’re likely in grave danger.
In many industries – like entertainment, technology and even real estate – consumers are highly susceptible to “new, fresh” voices. A lot of trust has been “depreciated” over the last decade: by former relationships that disappeared, by “investments” turned upside down, by messaging that often seemed deaf to the bigger picture other than “it’s a great time to whatever.”
What many organizations lack today is a John Wayne figure: Someone who will walk calmly, confidently, tall.
Someone consumers can trust. Always.
Better yet: They need to turn everyone in their organization into trust-worthy leaders – and compete on a whole new level.
The decade of customer de-leveraging wasn’t just financial. It was also emotional. Consumers balanced their budgets; and they also re-allocated their savings – including the relationships they held in trust.
All of which demands an answer: Is your trust-building strategy valuable beyond the consumption moment? Will consumers look to you, wish to hear from you, even celebrate and promote you, long after they’ve made a purchase. It’s time to move your value proposition beyond “strike now!”
Are you offering something of value – beyond the product or service – that consumers will buy and hold long after the transaction?
It is a sign of success that your customers think of you, look forward to hearing from you, and keep you alive within their sphere of influence in between doing deals with you. In the economics of the future, you’ll need more than a up-bending market curve to capture growth. You’ll need to trade in trust you’ve placed in reserves a long time before, to make markets, not just react to them.
That means making trust deposits with your clients – and prospective ones – starting today.