June 18, 2024

The covenant of trust


People don’t just listen to what you say, they watch what you do.

You get their attention when your mission and message line up with what they believe. They want to buy from a brand that shares the same values they have. It’s more than a transaction to them. It’s personal.

When they choose your brand over another it is a reflection of their values. The acquisition is a way for them to express a part of themselves. In that moment you are entering into a covenant of trust with them.

They trust you to do what you promise. When you don’t, the trust is broken:

Chipotle promised to source the very best ingredients to deliver “food with integrity” to its customers who believe in healthy eating. Then hundreds of them got sick from its food handling practices.

Volkswagen promised to put its engineering expertise, innovation and vision to work for the greater good to help solve sustainability challenges for the future. Then customers learned it was cheating on its emissions testing.

The Honest Company promised customers they can rest easy knowing its products are made without health-compromising chemicals or compounds. Then it was discovered its liquid laundry detergent contains sodium lauryl sulfate.

Each of these companies has lofty missions. Each failed to walk their talk.

Your mission statement is more than a page on your website. It is a promise of what you will do every day. If your brand promise is inconsistent with your daily business practices you break your covenant of trust with customers.

Trust in your brand doesn’t come from what you promise, but from doing what you promise.

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