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The CEO of a startup firm once asked me, how do I build trust in the market?

A new business takes time to build trust in the market. And if the business is in industries like finance, real estate, investments, it is an even more daunting task.

Then how does a business go about building this trust?

The research on this topic took me to Edelman Trust Barometer that says “Trust is build on Competence and Ethics” and that no Institution is seen as both competent and ethical!

Their research shows that businesses are higher on competency than ethics.



What this translates is that Businesses are good at what they do , i.e. generate value for the owners, being an engine of innovation and driving economic prosperity. 


At the same time businesses are not very good at being purpose driven, honest, fair and having a vision.  They do seem to serve the interest of only a few, rather than serve everyone equally and fairly. 

And this is where the answer lies. How does a business go about building trust?

As business owners, we are guilty of giving an ongoing focus to building and demonstrating competency; while having fragmented focus on building and demonstrating ethics. One obvious reason is that it is easier to measure competency as compared to ethics. What other reasons  come to your mind?

Whatever the reasons, a business would require to give equal focus on building both competency and ethics and then demonstrating this to their audience. This would mean that a business needs to focus on its ability to deliver in a dependable and purpose driven manner with integrity.

Another interesting point here is that Trust is local. It starts with your employees, then your existing customers, before it percolates outward into the market. Hence a business needs to work closer home to start building that trust.

A rising breed of buyers are the ‘belief-driven buyers’.  These buyers believe in “Brand Democracy” , meaning that brands can be a powerful force of change. A change that represents the buyers perspective and solves societal problems. Their wallets are the votes that they give to Brands. As a business  we need to figure out – How to attract these ‘belief-driven buyers’ to choose us from the plethora of offerings they have? Why would these buyers switch their votes to us? What can cause these buyers to boycott us? The answers to these questions will help us build a business brand that is trustworthy. 

An interesting statistic is that –consumers trust traditional media and search engines more than owned media and social media. As a business owner can we use this stat to generate content that is newsworthy, searchable and less social centric? Again information from peers and experts is most credible. Experts include- technical and  academic expertise. 

Obviously building trust is not a one-time action. It is an ongoing activity, the emphasis being on “ activity”. The easiest way to lose this trust is not to act on the promise that you make to your audience.

Its time to be proactive about building trust . Can we  plan a ”Business -Trust Goal” and dedicate time and effort in earning this Trust?


Neetu Bansal

Neetu Bansal

Business Coach | Author | Speaker |

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