The Harm in Creating a Perception of Perfection
Now more than ever, the millennial consumer will not purchase or utilize services from a business without first building a certain level of trust. To put it simply, without brand trust, your business will simply not rank on the competitive scale. You may be wondering why this is a factor of purchase now and not earlier. While Millenials care about various aspects of your business, quality, in particular, it is not a generation specific element, instead, it is an element introduced by the digital age. The information that reveals whether your business is a trustworthy one has emerged as important because it is now accessible.
The Internet has made the modern purchaser into an amateur Sherlock Holmes. Within minutes of a search of the internet, a potential customer has access to all the information in the world about your businesses’ every move, including those made in the past. Now, do not go into a freak mode and start deleting every single negative review or past mistake you can find. Perfection isn’t real and to create a perception of perfection sets you up for failure because it is an unattainable goal.
Public Relations and Reputation Management are two concepts largely interwoven into the importance of brand trust. Why? Public Relations is perception. Specialists are paid the big bucks to ensure that positive perception steady trumps the negative. However, authentic perception means transparency, therefore effective, powerful PR comes from a transparent business.
Trust Stems from Truth
An Entrepreneur article sums up why this is the case reading,
“When buyers make purchases, they want to know their decisions are good for their family and align with personal or charitable interests. Trust can’t be bought. It must be earned. Consumers want to understand exactly whatthey are buying, and rightly deserve the knowledge they seek.”
Just like the article stated, trust must be earned. The modern purchaser simply wants to know who they are giving their business to and while your family, and colleagues know who your heart of gold, the consumer has to be convinced. Two important questions you are probably wondering is how to attain transparency and what to be transparent about?
Do your research. If you were to google your business, what is it that you are finding? In an external sense, many businesses have taken to social media or blogging to reveal a more personable side that caters to the specific needs of their customers. To communicate trust, they have revealed an identity behind the brand that will then serve as a platform for their trusted business reputation. Also, own up to your mistakes. At an early age, we all learned that apologies can make the world of difference. Any PR specialist will tell you that an honest apology is 100% more effective than a coverup or avoidance plan.
Your kindergarten teachers weren’t lying… honesty really is the best policy.
Before external trust can be sustained, there must be internal trust within the various levels of management. Are you leaders being authentic, admitting to mistakes and challenging others to do the same? Is a problem seen as a failure or as an avenue for progress? Is appropriate information being openly discussed within the business to ensure proper communication? Whole Foods is an excellent example of internal transparency as they decided to make all salaries accessible information since 1986 with the CEO stating,
“If you’re trying to create a high-trust organization, an organization where people are all-for-one and one-for-all, you can’t have secrets.”
Please do not take this article as a push to tell the world everything you do and how you do it. Business strategy is not something you want to give out to competitors nor advertise to the masses. As I said earlier, the purchaser simply wants to know who they could potentially be in business with, not the intricate plans to one-up the competition, the quarterly action items, or the daily system maintenance checklist you have your assistant do. Transparency means providing the customer with “the knowledge they seek” and not hiding the mistakes.
With a transparent business, you build a trusted reputation. With a trusted reputation you build a loyal customer base. With a loyal customer base, you maintain a successful business.
Transparent business=Successful business.