NEWS18 March 2019

The brand triumvirate: trust, privacy and transparency

GDPR Impact 2019 News Privacy UK

UK – Trust is being increasingly shaken today and brands must face up to this new reality, according to a panel discussion at Impact 2018.

Brand trust panel Impact 2019_crop

Sean Pillot de Chenecey, author of The Post-Truth Business, opened the session at last week’s MRS Impact 2018 conference talking about how brands must adapt as consumer trust is increasingly undermined.

"Every brand and business wants strength and longstanding relationships with their consumers, and that’s all built on trust," he said.

"But organisations of every type have a real problem as truth and trust are under constant attack and so much public discourse is based on misinformation and lies. It’s never been easier to twist and distort the truth."

Pillot de Chenecey warned that increasingly "we’ll see heads of corporations going to jail and with GDPR, massive fines leveraged".

There was much debate about the idea of purposeful brands. Katrina Dodd, head of trends at Contagious said there they talk about "organising principle" rather than purpose. "There is so much more to purpose than green-washing," she said.

Emily Hare, editor of The Honey partnership added: "There’s a risk that if marketing owns purpose it’s much weaker than if it comes from the CEO."

Mark Shayler, co-founder of The Do Lectures said that while it’s important for brands to be purposeful, it’s more important not to be caught out. "Moving from a company that’s just a company to one that is really good, you risk skeletons coming out, but you've got to do it. You can see what manufacturing in Bangladesh is like now, so there is nowhere to hide. Price is no guarantee of good anymore."

Their tips for brands are:

  • own up to mistakes
  • find out what your customers want
  • look at what you are most proud of about your company
  • be authentic and transparent; show respect and empathy.