TrustTalk podcast host Severin de Wit interviews Marike Westra, Chief Communications Officer at COFRA, a privately held 6th generation family business on the role of trust in communications. She believes communication is fundamental in creating trust in both business and brands. The interview touches upon the role of social media who have “democratized” society, even if bad actors try to misinform, on the importance of transparency in doing responsible business. She reminds us that things that are closer to you, you tend to trust more. Marike further talks about how employers can influence the direction of their company and the challenges in keeping trust in brands and the importance of data, as part of what we do in communications is a craft. not a science, therefore:
“we should be data-informed, not data-driven”.
Transparency in communications is key to trust. Earning trust in society and as a business requires authentic engagement, which is a long term engagement, requiring courage and commitment.
Honesty is the crux of building trust. People “feel” the authenticity of a company’s honesty, it’s something intangible. Communications can help create a culture in which trust can flourish. She talks about trust towards employees which builds self-confidence and her advice seems to be easier than it in fact is.
Customers inherently feel the authenticity of what a brand says it delivers and what it does, which is based on how a brand has acted in the past. Reputation is what you have done in the past, it is the lens that you use to determine what you expect from somebody or something in the future.
Marike talks about how you “measure” trust, referring to the Reputation Institute. What kind of employer are you, how do you make decisions, where does the power sit? How are you accountable to society, citizenship, leadership, and performance (more than just financial performance). They rate the levels of trust and reputation along those parameters.
You can read the full transcript of the interview with Marike Westra in the PDF below. You can also download the PDF here
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