Building Brand Trust in B2B
In today's highly commoditized market in which consumers have access to a wide range of products and services, building trust in your brand is crucial for success. And likewise, when that trust is broken, it can spell disaster for your brand and your company. In this episode, Chris sits with Charity, Bo and Jonathan to explore the significance of building trust in B2B brands and what companies can do to cultivate it.
Table of Contents
- What does it mean to trust in a brand?
- How do you build trust in a brand?
- What does brand trust mean to B2B?
- Brand identity and brand trust
- Are there pitfalls of brand trust?
This transcript has been edited for readability.
What does it mean to trust in a brand?
Chris Wilks: I recently read somewhere that brand trust is the confidence and assurance customers have in the reliability, integrity, and quality of a company, and its products or services. Do you agree with that, or would you amend that in any way?
Charity Ndisengei: I would say I agree with that. I mean, really what they're looking for is consistency and delivery. Right? As you consistently deliver over time, then that brand trust grows.
Bo Bothe: I think, yeah, then it comes down to perception, and what's the perception built by. When I'm told that this product is going to do something, I have a perception of what that something is, and then over time, I experience it, and it either does that, or it does something different.
If it does something different, is a nice surprise, and I like that I may engage with that product more, or if it does what I thought it was going to do, I may engage with that product more. If it does even more, then I might buy more of it.
I think at the end of the day, trust is built in my own mind based on the delivery of it, based on my expectations from the start, and then based on my expectations from my first, or second experience.
Charity: That brings me back to that quote we have in all of our assessments that talks about how "you can't manage a brand, you manage perception," because really that is what we do.
Chris: Yeah, the brand exists in the mind of the customer. The brand means something different to each person. It's a challenge to manage those expectations for every single person, and every touchpoint, but ultimately you don't own your brand, you manage it. Right? That brand exists in the customer's mind, I guess the greater zeitgeist, if you will, and for some of these bigger brands.
How do you build trust in your brand?
Chris: How do you build trust with your audience? I think Charity, you already, you talked a little bit about consistent delivery, but what are some other things, or if you want to dive a little deeper into that, what are some other things to build, other ways, excuse me, to build brand trust?
Jonathan Fisher: I think you have to consider things like authenticity, transparency and frequency. Those are some of the attributes and means by which you can build trust.
Honesty too, of course. Ethics and integrity are kind of a component within that process. Those are just some of the methodologies that you have to consider and think about.
Charity: I would say the exact same things that you promise out there in your communications and your marketing, that's what you need to deliver on. Consistency in customer service, and the way that you speak to them, openly having communication that's transparent and direct, showcasing testimonials of other clients, and other clients that have worked with you, and have had a good experience with you. That's another way of building trust. The tried and tested conversations that you've put out there, and testimonials that you put out there too.
Bo: There are two pieces to this. One is the association. What do I associate with this brand? Whether I associate integrity, or I don't. I associate action, or I don't. And then, what does that buy, right? I am in a shopping center, and I see a Yeti store, okay, I expect to pay more for that product because of where it's located.
I mean, all of those collisions matter into the general perception of the brand, and the promise you make, right? This is a $50 thermos when you can get it for five somewhere else. Is it really worth 50? Probably not, but it's definitely worth 20. But, I'm willing to pay for the brand on top of it, because of where I got it, the status it gives me, all those kinds of things, on top of all the things that Jonathan and Charity talked about. The integrity of the product, all that kind of stuff.
Then there's the thing that I think a lot of people miss, which is we make an assumption that integrity means X, or quality means X. In reality, I think the challenges for branding and marketing experts today is that even when we say quality, quality might mean something different to a lot of people. Quality might be safety to Jonathan. Quality might be status to Charity, and quality might be price to me.
Being able to walk that and navigate that back to the trust piece, sometimes I think brands sometimes try and build trust a certain way they think that all their audience is going to take it, and in reality, they're building it the way they think the audience is going to take it. I think that that's one of the challenges to this. We can talk about all these different things that build trust, but at the end of the day, you got to understand what the customer wants.
I can tell you Jonathan and I are going to be really different on quality. He's going to have a different opinion of what quality is than I'm going to have. That doesn't mean that either of us are right or wrong, it's just it'll lead us to a different brand because we perceive quality differently.
Jonathan: For both, the brands need to manage those messages. It helps if you define what quality means. If you define what service means, if you define what responsiveness means, or accessibility means.
These words by themselves, to Bo's point, are rather generic, but we as marketers have to communicate what's behind these promises to the customers. Then the customers will align or not align with it. Then there's also segmentation, so there's different personas, and you can do segmentation both in the products, and the services, and segmentations for the customers, as well. Those slight variable differences will align with certain audience slivers.
Charity: One of the other ways that you can build trust is really around building good leadership, by sharing your expertise, particularly in B2B spaces, as well. What is your opinion, and what are you saying about things that are relevant within that industry or space that you're in?
I think Charity picks up a great point of the B2B sphere. I think it's harder to brand in the B2B space. It's technically easier because you have to reach fewer people.
Once you say a promise, and I deliver on it, I might engineer my whole product around your product, or I might engineer my whole plan to go do something, drill something, build something, make something around your product, and it's harder for me to switch as long as you're continue to deliver on the promise you're making in the operational sense.
The complexity of B2B, while it seems would seem to be less because of the lack of volume, is a lot higher because you really, really need to be on top of that because so much rides on that product. Whereas the switching costs are greater.
Me switching from Pepsi to Coke to Pepsi to Coke doesn't cost anything. Pepsi and Coke don't matter because they milk the same margin. Me switching from this widget that goes into this machine, to this widget that goes into this machine is a big deal because I've engineered my product around it.
How scalable is brand trust?
Chris: So you guys talking about the B2B vs. B2C kind of sparked the question in my head: Is brand trust scalable?
Charity: If you mean scalable, but transferable, I would say yes. I say that because particularly looking at, and I'm going to go back to generational millennials and Gen Z's, right? What they look for is: what is everyone else saying about this product?
Generally, by the time that they come to you to have a conversation about your product, they've already done the research, and part of that research, as we've seen, Chris, in some of our more recent conversations with some of our clients, it tends to be online, and it tends to be customer research, or customer feedback that's online.
They take transferred trust from what other people that have interacted with you, and take it seriously, and will determine whether they spend, and what we found was up to 500,000 online based on someone else's feedback. In that sense, I'd say yes.
What about in the sense of replicability, not just transferrable from peer to peer, but also if we're looking at permeating an organization, or growing that, because to me it seems difficult when you have so many factors at play, especially in a B2B environment where the brand lives in the mind of the consumer, or your audience.
In a B2B environment, you have to get approval through so many other folks, and they have so many different perspectives, and so many other different needs from your business or your brand. It seems to me that it's a very difficult task to build brand trust that can then be replicable, and build upon it.
Is there any trick to that? Is there any advice you would give to someone who's trying to scale trust that they've built with a certain market into another market, and grow their market share their brand trust market share, if you will?
Jonathan: Two things popped in my mind. There's equity transfers, when you transfer a brand, a brand is merged, absorbed, or changed its name, for example. There's sort of that scalability of trust transference like that. But then, there's just the measure within the trust itself.
Let's just say if you had a scale for trust of zero to 10, somebody trusts you at a three, you can move them up to a seven. There's that scalability. Thinking about the touchpoints where trust is formed through those experiences: the way you answer the phone, the way the product is shipped, the timeliness of the shipping, the packaging of the product, the quality of the software, the ease of use and functionality, the UX designs, whatever it might be, you have all of these places you can build trust, and then you can replicate it if you study those touchpoints, and discover which touchpoints matter and which touchpoints don't matter. That's one way I was interpreting your question.
Bo: If you've built your brand on purely price, like price competition, similar to what the insurance companies have done: I've got a price counter tool, and lowest price guaranteed, and all that kind of stuff.
I mean, you can watch Walmart, we've talked about this before. You watch Walmart, they used to be lowest price guaranteed. Now they are lower prices guaranteed. There's a change there because it's only a rush to the bottom. Right? When you start there, your ability to scale the perception of your quality of your brand up, is really hard. It's always easier to pull someone down off a pedestal, than it is to pick them up. We tell our kids that all the time.
It's the same thing with brands. It is really hard to push that brand up in quality. You saw that with JCPenney when they shifted to JCP, and they hired the executive from Apple, and he was going to kind of cool up the brand. And honestly, people just wanted to clip coupons, and buy cheap clothes. I mean, that was JCPenney's audience. When he tried to change it, that is not scalable. I mean, that diminishes their market so much so fast that it really has an impact on the audience: now I've confused one audience, because they never thought of JCPenny this way, and the cost to get them there is high.
Then I've ticked off another audience, my main audience because all of a sudden it's not what I expect. The scalability and the transferability of a brand, depending upon where it comes from, a high quality product like Apple can introduce a lower cost phone, but they have to be really careful not to go too low, to attract a bunch of customers that don't like them, or tick off or cannibalize their product.
It's easier to come from above at a high quality standpoint, like some of our clients have done where they bought a lower, more commoditized product to put in their product portfolio. Well, the transfer of that high-end equity into that product to get it priced up is easier than coming from below, and trying to get up to the top. That's a big piece.
Farrell, the drill bit company, Jonathan, was kind of the best example, as they were known as the bottom of the industry. They just wanted to get from seventh to fourth in the industry, and they bought a diamond drill manufacturer in France. That was an interesting kind of bottom up kind of deal because they put that association on top, and it took time, but that association was so much higher, and they invested in their branding to go ahead and bring them up to third in the industry.
There are those kind of strategies you can employ, but that's a big expensive strategy too, to go buy a whole other product line that's way more expensive and valuable than yours to try and pull yourself up. There's just different ways to do it. They are scalable or transferrable or whatever, but it's harder depending upon where you're coming from in some cases.
Chris: Yeah. I think it's important to have your north star, having your mission, your vision, your values, particularly your values, who you are, what's important to you, how you're going to interact, what you're going to promise. Honestly, what employees are going to learn. These are our values, this is how we live them out.
I think it probably makes it easier if we're talking about scaling, and reaching different audiences, if there's a consistent, going all the way back to what Charity mentioned consistent delivery. If everybody within your organization is playing from the same playbook, then it's a lot easier to potentially scale that trust as opposed to if-
Jonathan: It's inconsistent.
Chris: Exactly. The touchpoint Jonathan's talking about if, on a phone call, someone's short and not very helpful, but in person they're great and very personable, and in an email ... If there's just inconsistency, then you're going to be swimming upstream to try to develop that trust.
Jonathan: And Bo both touched on a subject — We do a lot of work in the merger and acquisition space, right? Brands can merge, and one brand can have an amazing reputation, another brand can have a terrible reputation. By the same token, the cultures can be completely different too.
When you're talking about scaling, scalability, a positive brand's reputation can pull up a negative brand, but a negative brand's reputation can pull down a positive brand's reputation too.
When you talk about are the tips or the advice you can give, yeah, there's a whole lot of levers that can be pulled in that process. Depending upon how you pull those levers, it can go north or south on you all the time. We've done tons of M&A work, tons of roll up work, tons of spin out work across hundreds of brands, and there is a lot that can go right, and by the same token, there's a lot that can go wrong in that process.
What does brand trust mean to B2B?
Chris: I want to talk about the importance of brand trust, particularly in B2B relationships. How does brand trust influence customer loyalty, retention, referrals? I mean, what are some of maybe the benefits, if you will, of earning that brand trust?
Bo: I think the whole intention of branding is to build a more valuable entity, or a more valuable perception. Marketing, driving leads, getting opportunities, sales, advertising, getting attention and awareness. They're all components of brand building. From a pure kind of brand trust standpoint, I think the key piece, especially in B2B, is consistency. There are things that make the promise that you can make, find the audience you need to find, and then be consistent in delivering.
As the client of a B2B brand, I'm going to use their product to make my product, my company more efficient, or more reliable, or make my product better, or sell more of that thing through my distribution channels. How that brand delivers on the brand that's buying, it becomes imperative to the success of their company. My philosophy about branding came from switching printers.
I switched printers for some baseball tickets thinking, well, it's ink on paper and a big round thing flying through. Well, the pressman didn't know me, and they didn't understand what I liked, and I didn't know what they liked. Their cost of making stuff, and making changes was higher than my cost. They valued something different than my old printer.
That project was less profitable because I switched horses because they look like the same product, printing, but the way this company that I was working with behaved, and the way this product, and the way that this company that I worked with understood me, and what I wanted really impacted the quality of the work that I could provide. I think that's a big piece of the B2B brand that people think about is how important that product or service is.
Because I made a decision to spend a million dollars on this valve, and put it in 20 different things that I'm making, and if that valve doesn't perform, it affects my relationship with my customer. That's a big part of this B2B brand piece, is that you're almost reselling, or it is a component of a bigger suite of things sometimes that can cause inequity and problems with trust across the spectrum of an industry or of your product.
Charity: The biggest thing really is around that risk because of the size of the price in this case. Brand trust is, it's everything. It can make or break your partner, or your client's work. Really. It's a risk. It's a risky, risky job. Ultimately, it'll lead to higher sales and revenue. If you get it wrong, you can get it horribly wrong. That could lead to the demise of an organization. It is just imperative to be sticky, and to have that loyalty.
Bo: The Marty Newmeyer purpose of branding is to make more people buy more stuff from you at higher prices for longer periods of time. That's nirvana. I value you so much. I value our relationship so much. I value your product so much that I will pay a premium over market. I will be loyal, I will tell all my friends, I will stick with you. I will let you make mistakes, and adjust to those mistakes. Then I become a loyal buyer, to Charity's point, because that's the problem.
There are less people for me to sell to. I can't just cast a net. That's where B2B branding really kind of comes in. That's something that Jonathan and I saw when we started the business 18 years ago is how important it was becoming to B2B beyond the normal B2C branding that was happening in the market then.
Jonathan: Brands that have high loyalty also have the benefit of generally lower cost per reach. Their ability to acquire customers is lower because of the referrals, and the word of mouth, and the brand presence is out there. Their ability to penetrate a new market is lower.
It's generally easier to enter new markets for them, or to launch a new product because their customer base is willing to try a new product within their line that they have that's there. There are a lot of benefits. Their cart sizes are usually larger, not just their price points, or their profit margins. There are tons of reasons you want to focus on building the brand's trust in this process, and that's just a handful of them.
Charity: It's a transferability of trust, isn't it?
Chris: Yeah. Yeah. That word of mouth, that positive association, that makes sense.
Jonathan: Their cost of labor can be lower, the cost of the hiring can be cheaper. They don't have to recruit as much, and as hard, or offer as many premium salaries as maybe the competitor, or lesser brand. There's just a bunch of dimensions here.
Chris: Yeah, that's a really good point. I didn't even think about the recruiting aspect, but that's a good point.
Brand identity and brand trust
Chris: I'm curious, does your brand identity play a role in building trust? Is that something that's considering as you're developing an identity? Are there considerations as it relates to brand trust?
Charity: Yes. If you see an Apple logo, do you have trust in the product? It's almost like a badge that telegraphs a lot. Just looking at a logo, you know exactly what you're walking into. Generally, if it's a well-known logo, it telegraphs a lot of things without even saying anything. It's imperative in my view.
Jonathan: Not just studies of color affect trust, and how literal, or not literal the identity is, have studies that have proven that people are more likely to trust it cold turkey, not knowing anything about it. They can understand it versus not understanding it. There's some psychology behind the designs that are put out there that help build trust that have been studied and proven.
Charity: Yep, but I think it's the same thing with if you're going into an interview, don't wear a red tie, or if you're going into a power meeting, wear a red tie because it telegraphs something about you. If you've got to photograph food, don't make it on a blue plate because that telegraphs something that's gone off. All of that stuff matters.
Bo: Yep. I think that's built over time. It took time for that Starbucks mermaid to become something. It took time for that Apple logo to morph from Newton sitting under a tree to the multicolored apple to the single simple black or white apple. Those perceptions are kind of built in our heads over time, to where when I see the Apple logo, I expect something, or I see the Starbucks logo, I expect something, or I see the sports team's logo, and I expect something, or I see the energy companies logo, and I expect something.
Those can be also bad. Those elements, and those that iconography over time take on things that I perceive in them, and that I've experienced in them. To your point, Chris, and you kind of opened this, Charity, you can't control all of those. You can't control what the media says about that logo. Over time you hear it enough to where it absolutely has an effect on what you think about Twitter. When you see that little bird, what you think about the bird. Right?
It cuts both ways, but the iconography, the elements of the brand, the colors, the shapes, the fonts, the tone of it, that all has a big impact over time, especially in how you feel about something.
Charity: Yeah. I think it goes back to that conversation that we started off with around having to imbue meaning, and defining what things mean. Three different companies can stand here and say this is what quality means for each of them, but you imbue that meaning into that word.
You do the same with logos.
Over time that one thing, say a market was to go dark, and you couldn't talk about it when tobacco went dark. If you saw the Marlborough man, you knew exactly what that meant, and what he stood for. Same thing happens with any other logo. You imbue meaning into an overtime as you communicate about the brand, at some point you put up a logo, people know exactly what that means.
Chris: Yeah. In the outset, when you're developing a brand identity, or a logo, is there ... I'm curious if there's something you can do that immediately ... That inspires trust in an identity, or is that unattainable?
Jonathan: Simplicity. I think some brands in terms of their identities try to make them overly complex. They try to ship too many concepts into them, and I think that dilutes the process. It's an area that we see what's out there.
Another thing that you have to watch out for is coming too close to another brand identity. Not only do you end up with a cease and desist, but you can drive consumers to the other brand. Be careful.
I see people that have designed things that are just confusing. What is this exactly? There's that rule of UX, don't make me think. Overly complicated is not necessarily confusing, it just communicates more than it should. Confusing is not understanding it in the first place. Brevity, both in what you're communicating, but also in the naming systems. Sometimes we see brands that have overly complex or long names, which can affect memorability.
Are there any pitfalls of brand trust?
Chris: Okay. Cool. I do want to ask, getting toward the end here, is brand trust always a good thing? From my perspective, brand trust comes with expectations. Right? Bo, you guys kind of talked about the pitfalls of the expectations that come with brand trust. Or maybe philosophically, the board wants to change something, or they want to do something different and now we're boxed in because we've built this brand trust that we don't want to betray.
Charity: I mean, I don't think there are many pitfalls. I mean if you're talking about that specific example, I think brand trust is a good thing because it shortcuts a lot of things. The way that I've always thought about brands, and really good brands is that they need to be relevant. Being really integrated into the audience that you wanted to talk to and understanding what their context is, and that's what you dial up or down or dial into, right?
That's the piece that you can change. They need to be easy to access. Do I really understand what these guys are talking about? Can I get the brand really easily? Is it easy to understand? Then they need to be distinctive. The distinctive part for me is the piece that drives the trust, consistent use of logo, consistent service, consistent delivery. Then you can dial in an out on relevance piece, depending on the market that you've decided to tap into. It's easy to tap into that market if you have the trust.
Bo: I agree with that. The challenge then becomes— If I need to shift my brand, if my brand has become irrelevant, and I have spent over 50 years building up my brand as X.
Starbucks, I think Starbucks is probably the best example from a, "Hey, Johnny sat there too long, we're going to call the police because Johnny's not buying anything, and he's loitering, right?" Starbucks made a promise to at least my generation, and probably the millennial generation, that it was a "third place." There was home, there was work, and there was Starbucks, and I could go sit there.
Well, at some point, and Starbucks never told us this, they never communicated it to the market, they didn't talk to anybody about it, Starbucks became McDonald's. Starbucks became the drive-through coffee, premium coffee that the whole buying special Arabica beans sustainably from Peruvian bean growers, or whatever, and the whole super comfortable couches and my ability to sit there and work all day, and this other smell stop and smell the coffee, and all that kind of stuff that they built.
Howard Schultz wrote books on it. They talked about it. They didn't run any advertising. Starbucks never has really advertised just a handful of times, much like Apple used to not advertise until they got in the music business, but Starbucks hammered that home. Then to abruptly put shotgun buildings in, make sure all the furniture is as uncomfortable as it possibly can be so that you don't sit there very long, and in some cases not even have a lobby, push it all to drive through, all the app.
I don't shop Starbucks. I'd rather go to my local little coffee shop down the street than Starbucks anymore, because it's not ... I didn't like coffee. I didn't go there for that. I can get a cheap drive through ... I can get really good coffee. I mean it studies have been shown that McDonald's coffee tastes better than Starbucks to many coffee drinkers, and I can get that for less expensive. Right?
There's that kind of thing that it can be a hindrance when the market changes, or your business philosophy changes, where you have to shift the mindset, and that's a hard thing and expensive thing to do.
Charity: I would argue that that's the relevance piece. They lost relevance. But, all the distinctiveness still stands. They still have the same logos. It's the relevance piece. If you lose touch with your customer, your core customer, and you don't bring them along the journey, that's a problem.
Jonathan: Well, look at Bed Bath and Beyond, right? To Charity's point, they didn't jump online when they should have. They were slow to that, so they were not able to capitalize during COVID. But on top of that, they were really a destination for picking up all these brands. Well, then they tried to merchandise it in private label, and they cut out a lot of the brands that were popular.
Then they go and file bankruptcy. Right? They were not staying relevant, they weren't delivering on that consistency. They were breaking their promises to those customer experiences both offline and in-store. Now they're filing bankruptcy.
Bo: I think that becomes then the Blockbuster story, right? I mean Netflix has done an amazing job of, over time, shifting, right? I mean, I remember walking up to a Netflix kiosk, and getting discs, and how cool it was that I could drop, I go to McDonald's and get a disc, and then go to my Walgreens and drop it back off. That was really cool, and somehow they moved that online. They stayed true to what they delivered, which was entertainment at my fingertips, or when I wanted a movie, or when I wanted something. They've slowly morphed, where Blockbuster didn't.
I think to your point, Jonathan, there are tactical things. Again, it's not just the logos, and the icons, and the delivering on customer promises. Those associations that Bed Bath and Beyond lost, and the kind of slowly moving a customer.
I mean, Starbucks has done a good job of, all of a sudden, it feels like all of a sudden they're just shotgun shacks with drive-throughs. But, that transition has happened over 15 years, and they slowly moved us all onto the app, and they slowly moved us all out of their living room, and they slowly moved us all to drive through, and then the market's gone to drive through, and market's gone to delivery, and they've adapted to that really well.
Those are the things that sometimes brands don't build into their brand strategy is: when the market shifts on us, or when we see the market shifting, what is our strategy to make that change over time?
Or, do you be Blockbuster or Bed Bath and Beyond and say, "We don't agree, we're just going to keep doing what we do." Well, there's a shelf life to that, and that shelf life's happening faster and faster, which is another interesting thing that brands need to consider.
Jonathan: Back to your comment about trust, Chris, can it be a negative? I guess, using these examples that Bo has brought up, the negative can be that management doesn't change fast enough. They're not paying attention. I would argue that Netflix and Blockbuster is a case of disruption more than anything else, whereas Bed, Bath and Beyond is a case of complacency and self-inflicted wounds.
Whereas, market share between Amazon and Walmart is a case of complacency. Walmart was the Amazon of the retail outlets of the world. They just wouldn't move online. They just were really incredibly slow to adopt because they just felt, in my opinion, that they didn't have anything to worry about, and they gave it, and they conceded a lot of ground.
Sometimes it's disruption, sometimes it's complacency. Maybe that's driven by fear of change because they think the trust is too strong, and they can't shift it, and keep it relevant to Charity's point. Maybe there's a case of where there's negativity. We do see executives that are afraid to make moves.
Charity: When you look at brands, service brands, it's almost easier to lose their trust. A lot of service brands are built on trust, because they're not delivering a widget. You know?
If we go back to that conversation that we had a couple of days ago about Uber, and how a social conversation about something that happened with one Uber driver resulted in a 50 million, 58 million dollar loss over time because social media took over the conversation, and because it's a brand built on trust, I trust that I am safe and I can help people where I am in my ride. That really affected that brand significantly. But, it helped Lyft grow.
Bo: I think that's a great point. That's a great point, Charity in that the challenge I think that brands face today is one, commoditization. There's so many people doing the same things all the time that you can get lumped into the crowd ... You may be doing it better, different, higher quality, better price, whatever, but it's really hard for the consumer to decide.
That turns into what they like, or they don't like, and then they can default to the really good brands that would fit them a lot quicker.
I think the second thing is, to your point about the internet, and social media, and a good brand can get destroyed over one or two bad experiences, or bad decisions by the product much faster than it could 10 years ago, maybe even five years ago, by a handful of negative ratings, or a handful of one stars, or a one or two very loud people within their core customer group being disenfranchised.
That can spread like wildfire, and it's really hard to come back from it. I would say 90% of the time, it flames out, and it's okay, but there are that 10% that really crushes brand equity and trust, when it probably shouldn't have.
Then there's marketers that make bad decisions that can ruin years of trust with one bad campaign, or one bad decision, because they think they're moving a brand forward, or they think they're being more progressive, or they think they're trying a new audience, and it's just not true to the overall brand.
Charity: I mean, that kind of leads to another conversation about how you need to structure your organization in this day and age. So that you are responsive, and you can be responsive quickly.
Bo: The operational component of branding is I think more and more important every day. We've always talked about it. It's always been a big deal. It's always been something we've talked to our executives about, not just delivering on their promises, but structuring your organization in a way that can deliver on those promises more effectively.
To Charity's point, your ability to respond, you react to bad medicine, you respond to good. Your ability, the ability for your organization to respond appropriately, quickly, to negative sentiment, can be a big thing. If your brand has been trusted, if all the information and data online, if over history of time the brand has had a positive feeling, or sentiment, then it's a matter of speed.
How quickly do I address this? How honestly do I address it? Because if I don't, things have a tendency to catch fire a lot faster, and a lot quicker than they used to. I think Charity's right. That is a big challenge for brands right now, especially big ones in that, or even small ones. One bad review to a small brand could be just crushing.
Chris: That's going to do it for today, guys. This is a really, really great conversation. I really appreciate your time and your insight, so thanks a lot, and we'll catch you on the next one.