Do Your Customers Trust That You Deliver Value?
Anyone going to be buying Facebook shares? I think I might – if only because it will be THE cool icebreaker for the next few months. What’s not to like. But a $100 billion valuation? That’s a big number – even in America where a billion is not quite what it is here in Europe. Where does that value come from and how do we trust that it’s for real?
Friends, customers, suppliers – a large part of the relationships we develop depend upon perceived value and trust and for most companies the marketing challenge is where to sit on the value-trust seesaw. Facebook leans towards value; their emphasis is on growing their user base by increasing the benefits that their users enjoy. They tend to talk publicly about trust only when security issues threaten growth. Banks tend to leverage trust; we’ll pay slightly higher fees if we’re sure our money is safe. It’s a simplistic view, but it’s one worth considering when positioning your own business.
Here at CentraStage we’re pretty much on the value side of things. Don’t get me wrong – security is core to what we do – but as a relative newcomer in a specialized market we know we have to earn your trust and that takes time. So right now we’re adding features and lowering the cost to entry as we build up our customer base and earn our stripes. It is the consistent message across all our public imagery. We want to be seen as the new kid on the block.
The downside is that you can often be overlooked in larger opportunities where trust plays a bigger role. In these cases it is important to be able to separate your corporate brand from the individuals that make up a company. Make sure your clients understand that difference. Your company has a youthful and can-do brand but you are a serious and trusted business person. Your company offers discounts and slashes prices but you work to time honored industry standards. It’s an important distinction to be observed by everyone in your business.
Value the business, trust the individuals. It doesn’t matter how many likes or connections happen daily on Facebook, the real question is can we trust the team behind the business to deliver $100bn of value? It’s an interesting question for all of us.