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MPA’s Big Debate. The loss, development and maintenance of Brand Trust.

Last night we were lucky enough to attend MPA’s Big Debate on Brand trust. The debate was centred around idea that Brand Trust is falling in the UK; “According to the Reputation Institute’s RepTrak report, trust in brands to ‘do the right thing’ dipped by a whopping 10% in 2017”.

Our guest speakers for the night were Liz Bielinska (Planning Express), Jamie Dodds (BBC Children’s), Caroline Sanger-Davies (Chester Zoo), Chris Garratt (Bert), all expertly being steered by our great host Christian James. They presented on whether they believed brand trust was truly falling, why brand trust is important, and how you can build, maintain and regain trust.

Although there have been many instances in recent years of trust falling because of social media errors, public blunders and company dishonesty, Caroline Sanger-Davies highlighted that often it is the way in which you deal with the errors that the public will place judgement upon. If a company can be open, honest, apologise, and make efforts to redeem itself, the public will be more likely to continue to have faith in them and support them.

Jamie Dodds came from a different angle, CBBC having less a customer dynamic, rather a duty to maintain trust between parents and a national broadcaster. He discussed the importance of honesty and consistency within the company morals and values; as a brand that relies on the public so heavily, consumer trust is crucial.

“Is it a bad thing if customers and consumers are sceptical and question the ethics/morals of a brand?” was probably the evening’s key question. I was particularly glad that this point arose, as I believe that a more critical audience reduces complacency, encourages positive competition and forces companies to be more honest with their customers.

Caroline Sanger-Davies touched on the importance of the company values being right at the core of the company, including every member of staff, right from the recruitment stages. If the staff believe in the values of the company they themselves will support it, which is a key aspect in building trust with consumers, especially when the Zoo sector is so closely scrutinised. Within this comes the importance of being open and honest, especially in a time when brand’s are becoming more exposed.

In order to be successful, there must be trust in your brand. This can be measured in a magnitude of ways, as well as created in many ways. Chris Garratt highlighted that a clear purpose, good staff treatment and benevolence are all key in creating and maintaining a level of brand trust. This was backed by the entire panel.

As a society that is becoming growingly skeptical and as companies come under more and more scrutiny, brands will have to work that much harder to build or maintain a level of trust. Personally I see this as a positive development.


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