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Five Ways to Build Credibility and Trust in Uncertain Times

Posted by TeamITI on January 3, 2009

trust1Right now, the value of smart communications has simply never been higher. So, what should a company do during this time of unprecedented turmoil? Say nothing and wait for things to get better? Just the opposite needs to happen, and with lightning speed. At a time when all companies and whole industries are painted with the same brush, companies need to communicate more openly than ever before. Whether the news is good or bad, companies need to communicate to their key stakeholders to differentiate their strategy, to engender faith in management and to clearly articulate their corporate assets.

While these and the helpful checkpoints below are presented from a CEO’s perspective at in a corporate context and the financial windfalls that have influenced Wall Street and the economy worldwide, there are are lessons to be learned for destination marketing and the travel and tourism industry at large.

Travelers, more discerning and smarter than ever when researching their next vacation, are becoming even more demanding about the value of their travel experience. Turning off the “marketing spigot” during bad times is not the solution.  Continuing the communication of your destination’s core values and innovating travel experiences through these times are crucial to your brand image and product awareness. And yes, of course, it may mean realigning some marketing strategies and redistributing resources. While this may be necessary for many organization, the key is to maintain that market visibility you have worked so hard for and stay connected with your customers.

Here are five ways to build credibility and trust in uncertain times as quoted in

1.      Communicate, communicate, communicate: In today’s environment, no news is definitely not good news.  Stakeholders want to hear from you more often, even if the content is shorter and excludes specific solutions to challenges.

2.      Define interim success: Set mini-benchmarks by which you can be judged and against which you can communicate progress.  By defining interim milestones of what constitute small success, you satisfy shareholders and board members, while simultaneously building loyalty and enhancing productivity among employees.

3.      Reinforce key messages: There are statistics showing that people need to hear things three times before they actually believe it.  Via multiple communications channels and through multiple voices, communicate your company’s core messages to reinforce your mission.  Once stakeholders hear the same messages time and again they begin to believe it and your reputation stays intact.

4.      Reputation is your friend: Your peers greatly impact how your company is perceived, so don’t leave it up to anyone else but yourself to define who and what you are; and what you are NOT. Ensure your messaging and actions accurately address and respond to the perception of your external constituencies.

5.      Substance over form: Over-emphasizing form vs. substance can have the opposite effect in times like today.  In fact, something that appears too slick or too expensive may actually impact the company’s reputation negatively. And while it’s important to maintain your brand standard—especially for customer-facing brands—for most other companies, substance over form is key.  Customers want to know they can rely on your standards of quality and that you will still be in business next week, next month, next year.

2 Responses to “Five Ways to Build Credibility and Trust in Uncertain Times”

  1. Tom Wanek said

    Exactly. In turbulent times, it’s critical that companies work to build credibility and trust with customers. Enron. Bailouts. Madoff. Need more evidence?

    I would also add that a business must reinforce key messages with their actions. Customer’s must see you’re committed – not just hear it.

  2. […] Comments (RSS) « Five Ways to Build Credibility and Trust in Uncertain Times […]

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