Trust can enrich a business or cost it. Source: Shutterstock

Trust is valuable currency in an increasingly digital economy

BUILDING TRUST among customers is one of the prerequisites of a successful business, and it’s becoming an ever more coveted currency in a digital economy where being the least trusted can earn you banishment to the obscurity of the Internet’s depths. 

Phil Teeman, the group managing director of Dentsu Aegis Network in China, has given a couple of useful tips so that businesses of all sizes can achieve an adequate level of trust with their target demographic.

According to Teeman, trust is a factor that can provide an enterprise with a significant competitive advantage. This is particularly noticeable in the computer hardware field, with brands such as Lenovo establishing a reputation as a company that manufactures good quality computers at a reasonable price. Due to customers’ trust in the brand, Lenovo has managed to become the best-selling computer manufacturer in China since 1997.

Companies like Lenovo, however, can always back on their established reputation to foster trust. For small businesses that are yet to develop a strong reputation, however, their best bet would have to be an emphasis on transparency, as noted in an Enterprise Innovation report. Transparency, after all, is one of the roots of a good reputation.

In a lot of ways, small businesses are best advised to start with as much transparency as possible. According to Teeman, transparency is something that businesses can use to gain potential customers’ trust.

Phil Teeman, Dentsu Aegis Network China’s group managing director. Source: Dentsu Aegis

“Opening parts of the business to external scrutiny in new or unexpected ways is emerging as an important way of building trust and differentiating a brand, particularly in sectors that have suffered significant reputational damage,” Teeman said, according to an Enterprise Innovation report.

Transparency is something that was also highlighted by Jennie Gorman, the director of Connexions Unlimited, in a LinkedIn Pulse report. According to Gorman, small businesses must see transparency and truthfulness as critical to their future. If a company can achieve a balance between these two factors, they will have a pretty good chance of growing and succeeding over time.

Apart from transparency, Teeman also noted that embracing new technologies and trends helps a lot when establishing trust between companies and their consumer base. Considering that the enterprise is now completely and consistently connected thanks to the Internet, businesses should not shy away from utilizing tools such as social media, chatbots and personalized advertising to reach out and build trust with present and potential customers.

Trust is always a steep hill to climb. It is, however, still a hill that could be conquered. With this in mind, a combination of classic transparency and progressive IT-based solutions might very well be the key to fostering trust between businesses and customers, even if a company is still building its brand.