Why Trust Is Needed In Driving Brand Success In A Competitive Environment – Ugo Geri-Robert
The Chief Executive Officer of Kantar Millward Brown Nigeria, Mrs. Ugo Geri-Robert has reiterated the importance of trust as factor in building brand success especially in a competitive environment.
While noting that level of trust includes, aspirational, emotional, motivation and functional, she said trust is essential to brand building as one can’t thrive without it.
Geri-Robert made this assertion while delivering a lecture as the lead speaker at the World Consumer Rights Day symposium organised by the Brand Journalists Association of Nigeria, BJAN, held in Lagos recently.
Speaking on the theme, ‘Building Trusted Brands: ‘The Nigerian Experience’, Geri-Robert explained that “trust is first established when brands demonstrate competence and integrity.”
According to her, “trust is not actually a football, it is not what you say, keep and just drop outside the gate, 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 producer 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 functioning mechanism of credibility and behaviour, and it is measurable and can be deliberately created,” she said.
Speaking further, the Kantar Millward Brown boss, giving an example of Toyota, said 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.
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 were 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, its about technology, the space you’re occupying, your staff, because when you talk about friendly as an ingredient of building trust, it has to be in the company’s DNA.
“There are many customer service organizations whose staff don’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”.
Contributing, Mr. Michael from Kantar Millward Brown Nigeria said that the typical multi-nation company that we work with made research and development (R&D), innovation part of their DNA.
According to him, “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.”
Michael added that It’s unfortunate that when there’s challenge in the market place, one of the first budget that will be cut is R&D. He explained that one can’t cut R&D, innovation and expect it to be competitive.
Some country, he said spent 5% of their GDP on R&D and receive the impact of the development in their country, adding that the investment of Nigeria businesses on understanding consumers’ journey have not been appropriately done.
Also speaking at the event, Mr. Bolaji Okusaga, Precise Media CEO said that the whole idea about creating customer relations structure did not speak to being a customer centric brand.
“The first thing you do when you’re trying to build a brand is to first understand the man who consumes the brand, how the brand defines the man, what he does, how person relate and the associational attribute that goes with that relationship.
“Through the life circle, you’re nurturing all of those key association and key points of verification that speaks of trust,” he said.
Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade, Head of Communications & PR, Google Africa, in his own submission, pointed out that one of the greatest advantages of technology is being able to make its data and quicker.
He said: “Technology helps us to scale, you build a solution and you can scale all over the world.
“The challenges of scaling are specialization, the moment you begin to scale, you’re doing it for a mass.
“At Google today, we have seven products that have minimum of one billion users. How do we personalize products for one billion users?
“At the moment, they’re about over 3.5 billion people on the internet, it estimated that one billion users will come from country like Nigeria and in the next 2-3 years there will over 4 billion people on the internet,” he said.
Earlier, at the event, the newly elected executive members of the association, BJAN, were inaugurated as the immediate past chairman of the association, Mr. Goddie Ofose administered the oath of office on them.
The new executive members include; Princewill Ekwujuru of Vanguard (Chairman), Afolabi Idowu of The Nation, (Vice Chairman), Lukman Ishau of Marketing Space, (General Secretary), Adejuwon Osunnuyi of The Daily Bells, (Assistant General Secretary), Akeem Salau of Vanguard, (Financial Secretary).
Others were Bunmi Awolusi of News Echo, (Treasurer), Fadare Adekanmi of The Octagon, (Auditor) and Olufemi Adeyemi of Brand Icon Image, (Chief Information Officer).