I was creating a presentation yesterday and came across a problem that I was not expecting. I had just created a series of slides about a coffee company that did a great job of aligning their brand statements with actual behaviour. They had noticed that the majority of customers were using disposable cups and through a great communications program they changed that to achieve 60% travel mug usage in their coffee stores. At the end of this case study I wanted to highlight the point that our behaviour is equal – if not exceedingly more important – when constructing our communication programs. We need to check our performance and enable our brands to align with what we do.
So here was the problem: what image speaks to the reliability or confidence that is created through aligning behaviours and messages? We used to think of Toyota but now what icon do we have? As a society where are the big images that we instantly recognize as trusted?
The best my group of colleagues and I could come up with was Apple. Are we one corporate failure away from losing trust? Is it even possible, given our human failings, to build iconic images of trust in our media saturated transparent world? It is possible that we may pay a price for knowing too much and sharing the good and bad sides of everything? Trust is a commodity that we seek to earn and maintain but are we able to achieve consistency and reliability as well? We may have to define trust as honesty about who we are and not the infallibility we may hope to achieve. Trust may really be about managing expectations.