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You can’t lose what you never had

Tim Williams

Brands don’t usually fail because they lose the trust of their customers, but because they don’t do enough to win it in the first place.


When thinking about customer trust, we tend to do so in terms of what happens when it’s lost, when a brand (or Prime Minister for that matter) is caught out doing something so bad that public opinion is outraged. But this way of thinking does of course presuppose an existing ‘store’ of  trust to begin with, that a business is, by default, trusted until proven otherwise.


In reality, dramatic falls are not only quite rare but depend on a brand being in a state of grace to begin with. It’s hard to fall from a pedestal if you’re on the floor already (which might explain why so many politicians cling on to their jobs). The real trust challenge for most businesses therefore, is not losing customer trust, it’s knowing how to win it in the first place.


In contrast with the typically high-profile and scandal-ridden things that cause it to be lost, earning (or failing to earn) trust tends to be a more prosaic affair. It’s often the small stuff lost in the weeds of the customer experience that serve either to create it (e.g., when I feel confident that I will get a consistent quality of service) or stop it from forming (e.g., when a brand makes it hard for me to contact them).


So, if you want your brand to be trusted it’s not enough to avoid bad behaviour, you have to know where and how to build it in the first place.

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