Building trust with your digital comms strategy

I’ve just got back from Ibiza and for anyone who hasn’t been, trust me when I say everyone should go at least once in their lifetime.

So, whilst we were over there a girl told me ‘you don’t look like the type of boy I’d trust’. I wasn’t particularly bothered, but it got me thinking about trust.

As we all know, ‘trust’ is the most important thing in any relationship, and just as this applies to any human bond, I reckon it’s equally important in the relationships brands have with stakeholders.

An essential component of trust is ‘value exchange’ and this must be absolutely integral to every interaction a brand has with a consumer. I’ve seen ’nuff marketing and communications plans that speak of the ‘trust agenda’ and bizarrely this always seems to be the most fluffy, lightweight part of the presentation. The intentions are there, often accompanied by a pretty diagram, but I’ve rarely seen anything robust with measurable outcomes that are representative of genuine communications goals.

So I’m going to share how I’d do (I’d like to think ‘have done’) it.

Firstly, let’s forget digital, social media and all that jazz and decide on what it takes to build trust from a simple comms perspective:

  • Consistently demonstrating openness, transparency and accountability; using the CEO as one of the key voices credibly equipped to present these.
  • Focus on the message- it must be honest and relevant.
  • Focus on providing key internal figures with the necessary tools and materials to communicate.
  • Focus on providing relevant external experts and influencers with tools, materials and access.
  • Recognise that people need to hear something five times to believe it… so that means you have to define different messages and find out where stakeholders are congregating…

But where are they congregating? Well not Nandos for starters (or mains), for the sake of this blog post it’s online. So how can digital and social media become integral within those comms basics? Let’s map it:

  • Harness search; 57% consumers use search as the first port-of-call for finding information about a company. Why not provide your content or target media coverage to meet and rank highly on search terms they’re using?
  • Talk with people, not to them. It’s the mother of all cliches, but social media can facilitate two-way dialogue and interactivity.
  • Ensure your presences on social channels have a purpose and are used cohesively. Oh, and make sure you use them accordingly… you know appropriate tone of voice, relevant content etc.
  • Analyse your social following and tailor your content and messaging accordingly.
  • Find out where your most relevant commentators and influencers are online and leverage these niche pockets of interest.

I realise I’m not going in to specific executional tactics there, but it’s a starter for ten.

On a lighter note, here’s a quick snippet of a boat party in Ibiza:

Now do you trust me  that you should make the trip? Not that I’m a ‘trustworthy boy’ though, ‘coz the jury’s still out on that one…

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