Amazingly our series of Blogs and articles on Brand Trust appear to have generated a significant amount of debate and questions. Many people focused on delivering and measuring the Customer Experience (or as it is often referred to now as CX), see their role justified by enabling trust in the product or service to be built over time. It seems a simple equation – ‘deliver the best experience you can to Customers and they will start to trust us’; followed by the mantra ‘do it consistently and the trust equation builds with a multiplier effect’. Perhaps this is why so many brands are now investing in comprehensive and multi-faceted Customer Experience measures? Maybe it is why the BIG consultancies like KPMG, McKinseys and PWC are busy integrating customer experience specialists into their teams and global offers?
At The Buzzz our belief is that Trust is indeed supported and manifested by the consistency of the product / service delivery. However we believe that is only one driver of Trust and like many aspects involved in engaging customers these days, we have to think about a multitude of contributors which build trust and future success. There are a finite number of experience leaps, a business or organisation can make before the ability to deliver a different experience, never mind an improved one, becomes harder and harder to achieve. It is a classic example of the law of diminishing returns. We also observe that in the same way as Customer Satisfaction Tracking begins to show little or no change in satisfaction levels after a time; Customer Experience will go exactly the same way.
Surely the time has come for a new and longer lasting focus for Marketing Directors and CEO’s to focus on, one that brings together a whole host of different marketing, sales and service outputs under a single dimension and one which also reflects the history and tradition of the brand investment to date. A dynamic measurement that enables brand owners to see their brand position relative to their competitors and plan strategy around.
But what happens when you see Brand Trust strongly established but without any experience of the brand itself? How can you trust a brand you have not experienced? This is particularly relevant when we look at the number of disrupting brands which have been born over the last 6-10 years – brands like AirBnB, Uber and Spotify which people seem to trust on the back of little more than what others say about them.
Our recent work would show clearly that if satisfaction is some trade off between expectation and experience, then provided the expectation is present, the trade off still stands. Experience is judged around the classic comparison of perception and reality.
Some brands however build trust through a focus on everything else except the experience, one brand has managed to achieve that in the last week through a very careful and strategically brilliant, controlled and planned way to build huge levels of brand trust and positivity.
When Elon Musk took to the stage at the Tesla Design Studio in Hawthorne California on 31st March to unveil the new volume production model 3 he was able to discuss the culmination of the strategy he had written for Tesla over 10 years earlier. (View the tesla 3 Unveil) The essence of that strategy was to build the level of trust in the brand so that consumers would question less whether the electric cars would work for them and more the fact that they would work because they come from Tesla. Of course he has had to prove that but Tesla chose to do so by perfecting the prototype and starting with a performance vehicle.
Few can doubt the success of the strategy where a business requiring access to billions of dollars for funding production and research initially is now ready to launch the first volume electric vehicle. The launch yesterday saw 180,000 people deposit $1000 for a car which will not be available until late 2017! So the launch of the Type 3 model generated $180m in less than 24 hours! That is some crowdfunding.
I am not sure what your definition of trust is but spending $1000 for something I will not get for almost 2 years and which I have only really had chance to see on video or via still images is pretty near to total trust in my opinion
It is interesting that in developing our own theories about Brand Trust we have focused on two very different stories from the automotive category – VW and Tesla; Old and New but both originated around a vision for the people’s car of the future. What a difference 80 years or indeed a year makes – to build trust in your brand slowly with a focus on experience; or quickly by harnessing some very strong catalysts the simplest being honesty.
If you are interested in how we are developing brand trust measures as a way of providing a fresh perspective at a category level – get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0113 387 3222. Collaborative thinking is what we do best at The Buzzz so we welcome any new views at any time. In the meantime we will keep blogging and writing around trust, as we remain committed to the belief that like any commodity which becomes scarce it only increases in value.