Building brand trust is widely accepted as key to building a brand’s success – the latest Edelman Trust Barometer, mentioned in a previous post, declares that “Trust is now an essential line of business” – and businesses take great pains to create and nurture that trust at every consumer touch point. But what happens when the brand stewards don’t actually trust, or even much respect, each other?
How can you create brand trust if you don’t trust your brand communicators?
A recent survey out of London notes that 73% of CEOs feel that their own CMOs “lack business credibility,” largely because they feel their marketing leaders focus too much on the latest marketing trends – especially social media – and not enough on the latest company numbers (or at least not enough on the ROI of their various marketing initiatives).
How can brand stewards build trust in each other?
This survey is actually not news; I’ve observed the dynamic for years, in many clients across many categories, and not only between CEOs and CMOs. There’s also a lack of trust between CMOs and their agencies… and anyone who’s worked in an agency probably has a trove of examples of how little trust there can be between account people and creatives.
I believe that Edelman’s conclusion on consumer trust can be applied to internal trust issues as well: “Trust is a protective agent and leads to tangible benefits; lack of trust is barrier to change” In short, when the brand team doesn’t trust itself, it defeats itself.
Of course, there are also many exceptions to the above, and I invite you to share your examples here. Over the years, when I’ve seen things work it’s typically because the majority of brand team members, from the CEO and CMO to the agency’s junior copywriter, at least tacitly agree to:
1. Set expectations
2. Accept mutual accountability for producing positive business results
3. Be not only demanding but also supportive
Out of this can come not only better brand communications but also a better internal brand environment, the kind required to deliver the positive brand experience that builds consumer trust – and better bottom lines.
A question to CMOs and their marketing teams:
What are you doing to build internal trust in your marketing efforts?