Trust as a Strategy

Nathan Kinch, Head of Experience and Labs at Meeco, blogs about using Trust as a Strategy (TaaS) to help businesses strengthen customer relationships.

Through the execution of our omnichannel strategy, we will optimise the customer experience and significantly deepen share of mind and share of wallet!” exclaims the fictional executive in this story.

It is well known that brands value share of mind, but value more the share of wallet. However, as share of mind or ‘share of attention’ becomes harder to capture, and as the ongoing threat of OTT services becomes more and more pervasive for industries such as telecommunications, how might brands go about deepening the customer relationships they value so highly? Enter ‘Trust as a Strategy’, or TaaS for short.

TaaS is where an organisation clearly sets the context that their tactics, actions and investments, and therefore some core success metrics, are designed to earn a relationship with customers based on mutual trust.

They do this because they believe trust is a differentiator; something that will put their brand front of mind and front of wallet in the lives of their customers.

But before we get excited about the prospect of TaaS, let’s examine something I alluded to earlier – earned trust. Earned trust is not a new concept by any means, but it is a vital one.

Earned trust is simple. It means that you, the brand, set a transparent context for the purpose of the proposed relationship you would like to have with a customer. From there, you deliver consistent increments of value that either align or exceed the expectation you have set. Keeping in mind that the value you deliver will be measured by how effectively your product, service or experience fulfills the customer job to be done.

Over time, the consistent delivery of value results in a favourable relationship. If this goes on long enough, you earn genuine trust. Sounds simple, right? What about trust that goes the other way? Surely it takes two to tango here?

Of course it does. Earned trust is a two-way street. This doesn’t mean you start on the back foot; it simply means that over time, the trust a customer has earned becomes a differentiator; an opportunity for the customer to receive favourable offers, more personalised experiences, discounts, or whatever it is that is deemed ‘appropriate value’ in the context of the trust-based relationship.

Trust as a Strategy is a clear opportunity for brand differentiation for two reasons:

  1. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
  2. Consumer trust has long been in a downward spiral

When the customer controls their personal data, gaining access to that data for a specific purpose (i.e. to conduct business) is going to require trust. Businesses require personal data to operate. Therefore, ‘trust’ is quickly becoming a viable brand strategy. TaaS can convert the GDPR from a significant business challenge into an opportunity.

At Meeco, we have a strong belief that the customer, the citizen, the patient and/or the student, empowered by the control of their personal data, can become a valuable and equal participant in the value chain. The result of this, enabled through interoperability and access to Life Management Platforms like Meeco, look something like this:

Meecosystem

But the MeEcosystem as we call it, is the future we’re heading towards. It’s the future The GDPR will help support. We’re just not all the way there yet.

In the immediate term, brands need to take small, manageable steps to begin peeling away layers of uncertainty to expose value. See the Me2B Onion for more on this model.

A recent Meeco Labs Programs case study (click image to expand)

A recent Meeco Labs Programs case study (click image to expand)

What brands really need is for TaaS frameworks to showcase business value prior to making substantial investments in new business and engagement models.

In this case study, risk and investment was contained within a time-box. The brand was able to experiment with GDPR compliant consent tools and actually collaborate with their customers by bringing them into the value chain.

What they proved was that their ‘Give to Get’ strategy (their version of ‘TaaS’) earned the trust of participating customers. Through earned trust, they gained deep, meaningful insights into customers’ lives.

This article was originally published by the Digital Catapult, which you can read by clicking here.