Trust and Brand Ambassadors

It may happen when a company starts considering a brand ambassador program, the benefits may not seem clear nor strong. I can understand this, as such a program implies aligning all internal processes and working forms to match the culture that the brand wants to live and giving the support so that each employee becomes a co-creator of your brand and start out cooperatively. This, on first sight, may seem difficult and complicated and with no immediate results that make it worth investing in it.

Nevertheless, when companies do not align their brand values with the culture that is actually lived, what really is at stake is one of the most important dimension of social relationships which is trust. And trust is something every brand has to be focused on.

Trust has gotten a lot of attention from social scientists of late because first of all it’s been in decline and it is pretty well documented that we trust our institutions less, we trust our fellow citizens less, there’s less trust in organizations. So it’s really something to work on, and for really good reason.

Paul Zak, an economist at Claremont who’s one of the pioneers in the science of trust, has looked at the relationship between how trusting a nation is and how well they’re doing in terms of happiness. And what you find is a very strong association such that more trusting cultures tend to be happier.  It’s really paramount for social networks to be trusting in order to cultivate happiness.

And we have also seen in various social studies that “happiness does promote success. In part because happy individuals show numerous adaptive characteristics. That is, happy people tend to exhibit behaviours, attributes and skills that help people thrive and succeed”[1].

Now, is a company responsible for the happiness of its employees? Well, not necessarily, though by looking at the amount of research correlating happiness and success, it may be something to consider if only for selfish interests. In Live Your Brand, we are of the opinion a company is indeed responsible for making employees trust the company they work. But how? How can you start such an enterprise?

It is not as difficult as one may think. We must simply put ourselves in the shoes of an average employee and start analysing and questioning everything she lives in her company.

What are the brand slogans that she reads when she enters the company or opens her computer? Are this slogans really lived when she reads the tone of the emails she writes or receives? When she has a meeting are the brand values lived how the meeting is run? When she talks and leads a team, does her leadership skills really reinforce the brand values? Does her team react and cooperate in a way that they feel co-creators of the future of the brand? Do all office facilities reflect the brand values? Even at the photocopying area or in the lavatories, can you see how the employees are valued within the organization? Are all internal processes in alignment with how the company sees itself in the present and future? And so on, and so on.

This is important, because trust is really the end game of any corporate culture.

This is why we build a brand code and brand values and a brand culture, not only to achieve trust with our clients but also to make our employees trust the organization as well.  And trust is built and achieved through every single detail. It is something to show and lived every single day. So it is not only to have happy employees but to create the soil for a brand to thrive and succeed, to live its utmost potential. And to question itself in a continuous manner.

So let’s start thinking about some very concrete specific things that you can do to cultivate trust in your brand.  And it is not necessarily big things or big changes but starting small, what is the first thing you can do today to create trust between your brand culture and what is really internally lived?

[1] The benefits of Frequent Positive Affect: Does happiness lead to success? By Sonja Lyubomrsky, Laura King and Ed Diener.2005 University of Illinois and the Gallup Organization