The Importance of Brand Strategy in the Trust Economy

It’s no secret that we are living through a revolution in the delivery of products and services. Driven by the internet’s uncanny ability to match sellers and buyers, people all over the world are engaging in direct commerce with other individuals, brokered by branded platforms.

Some people call it the sharing economy, collaborative consumption, on-demand services, or the peer-to-peer economy. Since all models depend on trusting that a virtual stranger will do what he or she promises, let’s call it the trust economy.

The trust economy is transforming sectors like travel, car sharing, microfinance, microventure funding, staffing, music and video streaming. PwC estimates that global revenues from these trust economy sectors will rise from $15 billion today to $335 billion in ten years.

Nearly half of American adults are familiar with the sharing/trust economy, and PwC reports that the more familiar they are, the more excited they become.

But 69% will not trust sharing companies unless recommended by someone they already trust. 64% of consumers say that peer regulation is more important than government regulation. And Nielsen reports that 92% of consumers trust word-of-mouth recommendations above all other forms of advertising.

The key for brands in this new economy is trust.

It’s not just about people trusting other people, peer to peer. It’s about people trusting a brand. And if a company invests in developing a meaningful brand strategy that helps employees understand how to behave, the brand’s behavior will lead to people developing feelings of trust in the brand. Theere’s only one way for a brand to get into a relationship of trust with a customer. You have to earn it.

Trust is earned by doing what you say you’ll do. By consistently and conspicuously living up to what your brand promises at each and every brand interaction. Every time.

There’s only one way for a brand to get into a relationship of trust with a customer. You simply have to earn it.

The formula for the trust economy is easy enough: Brand + Behavior = Trust. When thousands of consumers are being served by thousands of virtual strangers, trust in the brand is the only thing that makes the new economy work.

Emotive Brand is a San Francisco branding agency.

Originally published at blog.emotivebrand.com.

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