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Building Your Brand Experience for Hard Times (Part 3)

Posted on Sunday, Jun 7th 2009

By guest authors Charles W. Bush and Kathy Hwang of 3Strand, a brand and business strategy consultancy.

Build trust with customers through transparency.

Just after the financial crisis, research conducted by OTO Research shows that 83% of consumers do not trust the brands they use. Everyone is talking about building brand trust during a recession, so how exactly are companies doing it?

Timberland has been finding opportunities to add customer value during this recession through corporate social responsibility. They are approaching transparency by putting “nutrition labels” on its products that give details on the environmental impact of a product and the child-labor record of the factory that produced it. Using social and environmental practice as the new tool for value assessment, they give customers a tool to make a more educated decision and feel more confident in their purchase.


Trust is also being built through open online dialogues.  The fans of the iPhone drove the creation of, where emphatic iPhone owners post their wishes to fix flaws in the product or add features, vote on the best posts, and basically beg Steve Jobs to fix them. While it may seem like bad press that the site discusses product flaws, they’re able to create a playful online dialogue that doesn’t take itself too seriously and has gathered a cult following of iPhone fanatics, gaining more than 250,000 votes and 1,600 posts in less than a week. These are the types of social media interactions that companies need to drive to build online transparency.

There’s no denying it. The markets are shifting and the branding game isn’t the same as it used to be. A recent Shoppercentric study found that a whopping 90% of consumers have made changes in their grocery shopping habits as a result of the economic downturn. 40% are using stores that they did not previously, and 57% are buying more private label products. You can see these dramatic shifts occurring across most industries, not just groceries. This recession has created a key opportunity for entrepreneurs to create innovative emerging brands that can capture the shifting market and build a solid foundation of customer confidence.

What are your personal opinions? Which brands in particular have stood out to you as being the most trustworthy and successful in this recession?

This segment is part 3 in the series : Building Your Brand Experience for Hard Times
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Now as I am cutting back on spending, I am looking more at price than brand unless I believe the company has socially and environmentally responsible practices. It’s even more important than ever to support good business practices as we work toward building a stronger economy.

Nancy Miller, M.S. Sunday, June 7, 2009 at 6:34 PM PT

[…] to trust in order to successfully grow ourselves personally and professionally – were just honest people.  Maybe it’s just a matter of greed, and it will never be perfect.  And I know I am lumping […]

What Ever Happened to Trust and Honesty « Be Innovation Tuesday, June 9, 2009 at 6:57 AM PT