The Trust Advantage: What it is and Why it matters

Published 27th February 2020
Melody Tay

HQ Asia Editor

Published 27th February 2020

Successful organisations know how to nurture trust with their stakeholders and within their ecosystems—and in today’s world, knowing how to wield the double-edged sword of data is foundational to building that trust. 

Yet, there has been an erosion of trust over the last decade between the public and institutions such as governments and business. Scandals like that of 1MDB or of oil and gas giants hiding climate change research have driven a deep distrust of the intentions driving corporations. Rising rates of cybercrimes and the misuse of data by many companies only add to the trust gap between people and organisations. 

Business and governments are responding. Google announced its plan to remove internet cookies by 2021, and countries like Singapore have rolled out data privacy laws. Anonymously mined data will no longer be easily available. Instead, people will decide who to give their data to, as it should be, and they will expect a return of privacy and a valuable experience. 

The IBM Global C-Suite Study 2020 found that top-tier companies that excel at integrating data into their strategy, operations and culture are able to better bridge the trust gap—and are largely outpacing their peers in revenue growth and profitability. Yet this group only makes up 9 percent of all companies surveyed in the study. 

How, then, can you nurture trust? How is building trust different with your various stakeholders? And does it matter if you are a B2B or B2C company? Drawing on knowledge from IBM’s Global C-Suite StudyEdelman and LinkedIn’s B2B Thought Leadership Impact StudyEdelman’s Trust Barometer Report 2020 and the World Economic Forum’s body of insights, this series will give you an overview of the knowledge and tools you need to build your trust advantage. 

Over the next four weeks, we will look at trust in three areas:

1. Clients: Privacy, Perception and Personalisation

            Customers want hyper-personalised experiences but at the same time, want to know that their private data is safe in the hands of organisations. Companies will need to be accountable and transparent with how they handle their data, and “earn” that data by creating a smooth experience for their customers. For B2B businesses, relevant and consistent thought leadership is key. In this realm, decision makers in organisations often rely on the strength of available thought leadership to make assessments of trustworthiness of organisations.

2. Employees: Culture and Capacity

            Organisations will also need to upskill workers, simplify access to data tools and strengthen enterprise-wide data governance. The key, however, is the buy-in of employees. A culture that supports value-based decisions, data-first thinking and cross-department sharing is paramount to the success of building a trust advantage.

3. Ecosystem: Collaboration and Partnerships 

            When trust is shared among organisations, greater value can often be found. In the platform era that we live in, knowing when and how to collaborate and partner other organisations is vital. Companies must also develop an understanding of when to share data and when to keep it close.  

Trust cannot be built overnight. It takes hard work, time, and constant and consistent improvements. But by the same token, we cannot function in a world without trust. Let’s work together to put it back where it needs to be. 

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