By Princewill Ekwujuru
Experts in marketing, research and development (R&D) have said that manufacturers must employ trust ingredients and make consumers part of their brand story in order to build successful brands.
They said that building a trusted brand goes beyond the quality of the product, stressing that consumers’ are not only interested in a brand’s vision, but the purpose and what the brand stands for.
They noted that manufacturers have failed in their effort in making customers part of their brand story, which is another way to connect with consumers, and this connection makes a great foundation for trust and loyalty.
They spoke at a symposium to celebrate the 2019 World Consumer Rights Day organised by the Brand Journalists Association of Nigeria (BJAN).
Speaking on the theme of the symposium, ‘Building Trusted Brands: ‘The Nigerian Experience’, Chief Executive Officer of Kantar Millward Brown Nigeria, Mrs. Ugo Geri-Robert, who was the Lead speaker said that “Trust is first established when brands demonstrate competence and integrity.”
Stressing the importance of ‘Trust’ as one of the factors required in building successful brands, especially in a competitive environment, she listed other factors that leads to brand trust to includeAspiration, Emotion, Motivation and Function.
According to her, “Trust is a journey with knowledge at different levels, one level of trust will graduate to another until you arrive at that level of trust.”
She added that, if a manufacturer doesn’t know the level that his consumer is with him, he probably would not be speaking the right language that the consumer would understand. “Trust is currently number one leadership competency in today’s changing environment.”
“It can help improve the results focus, communication, collaboration, leading change, innovation, strategy as well as problem solving. Trust can be learned and measured, it is part of the functioning mechanism of credibility and behaviour, and it is measurable and can be deliberately created,” she said.
Giving an example of Toyota, the Kantar Millward Brown boss said that the car manufacturer had to recall many of its products (cars) off the streets and showrooms when it was discovered that the airbags installed in the cars were faulty.
According to her, the car manufacturer had to jettison profit while trying to ensure they build trust in the minds of their customers. “The first thing you’ll think of is ‘this brand actually has my back”, she said.
Also, using GTB as another example, she noted that consciously or unconsciously, most of the branches of the bank do not have fence because they are trying to build trust in the minds of their customers.
“Why is GTBank still there today, it’s because the bank is a brand that consumers feel a bit more comfortable with.
“If you have noticed, the bank doesn’t have gate or fence. You just walk through. They didn’t advertise that but then it sends different signals of trust to the consumers such as ‘we are well equipped inside’ ‘nobody can mess with us,’ ‘we trust you, ‘our consumers are not thieves, but respectable persons,’ ‘GTBank is a friendly brand,’ and stuffs like that,” she stated.
Geri-Robert added that whether one likes it or not, all these little things are what made consumers stay with brands.
She stressed that talking about financial inclusion, the penetration of people that have account is still so low, but that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other financial bodies were working on it.
“As at date, GTBank is actually the bank that is ahead and they have put things in place to make financial inclusion a reality.
“Also, Zenith Bank has been working to join the race, but they have realized that this is not just about word, it’s about technology, the space you’re occupying, your staff, because when you talk about friendliness as an ingredient of building trust, it has to be in the company’s DNA.
“There are many customer service organizations whose staff doesn’t know the definition of customer service. This means helping customers efficiently in a friendly manner”.
“It’s essential to be able to handle issues for customers and do your best to ensure they are satisfied.
“Providing good service is one of the most important things that can set your business apart from the others,” she said”.
Speaking during the panel discussion, Mr. Michael Umogun, Business development at Kantar Millward Brown Nigeria said the typical multi-nation company that we work with make research and development (R&D), innovative part of their DNA.
“Some will tell you no action should be taken until the consumer is consulted. It’s this expectation that will drive what they will do at the end of the day, that’s very important because this organization will come into our market and do better than us, they seem to know far more about our market than us while the local company thinks investment on research, development and innovation is wasted budget or revenue.”