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Illustration by iStock; Security Management

5 Steps to Build, Protect, and Rebuild Trust in Your Brand

With an ongoing shift in who and what people tend to trust and disinformation campaigns finding fertile ground in social media outlets, organizations can take certain steps to create and protect the reputation of their brands.

1. “Get out there and build trust,” advises Jeremy Plotnick, director of marketing and crisis management at George Mason University and a former corporate communications and disinformation researcher. There are several elements of trust for an organization, so know what your customers and stakeholders value most, then find out how the organization aligns with those priorities.

2. Be consistent. The messaging behind the quality of a product or service needs to be consistent. If it’s always shifting, it’s harder for customers to trust that the message is sincere.

3. Be prepared. Organizations should have a chapter in their crisis response handbooks that specifically addresses attacks on brand reputation, such as disinformation campaigns. Employees should also be trained in a related response plan.

4. Communication with customers and stakeholders needs to be a two-way street. An organization needs to get its message across after an attack, and it needs to know what stakeholders believe.

5. “Once you’ve done your response, you need to be patient. …In many cases, people move on to the next scandal du jour,” Plotnik says.