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10 Ways to Build Trust With Members and the Public

Trust is the human currency that enables you to run your organization and drive results. Recently, however, trust in organizations has imploded. 

The good news is that rebuilding trust doesn’t have to come at the expense of digital transformation. The same technologies and digital shifts that led to the growing trust deficit can actually enable both trust and transformation.

Here are the top ten tangible pathways to build, rekindle, and reinforce the trust between your association and individual members without interfering with your transformation journey.

#1 - Give Trust to Get Trust

As humans, we tend to trust people we perceive to trust us. That’s why transparency, communication, consistency, and giving people control over their information are all important to authentically position your association as a trustworthy brand.

Building digital trust require tapping into the human element of connection, goodwill, and reciprocity (aka the flow of human generosity).

Yet, many business leaders overlook the business value of public trust. Others overestimate their perceived trustworthiness and the confidence users have. In fact, new research from Deloitte Digital and Twilio found that organizations are overly confident about customer trust in brands. Most business leaders overestimate almost every dimension of trust, including humanity, transparency, capability, and reliability. 

This disconnect between C-suite perceptions and the importance of trust among digital audiences isn’t a simple problem. It's a much more complex, growing threat to recruitment, retention, and business continuity. Critically, the trust gap means that brands aren’t aligned with the trust signals of their core audience.

#2 - Create a Transparency Culture

In a digital world, you want to openly share motives, choices, and all information and consistently deliver.

Prioritize clarity, upfront transparency, and clear visibility. Have a clear structure and flow that’s easy to read and understand. 

Be sure to tell your audience how and why you’re collecting certain data and being straightforward in how you access, store, and process makes people feel comfortable and understanding of the value of information sharing.

#3 - Increase User Control

Increasing user control is vital to rebuilding trust. So start thinking about how you'll give users control over their member experience and the personal data collected.

How will you enhance user control over and involvement in personal information? You'll need to integrate end-to-end operating rules and internal maintenance systems.

The good news is that increasing user control often leads to better quantity and quality data. It leads to member profiles finally getting filled out, enabling more relevant communications to individual members at scale.

#4 - Educate on the Trust Cycle

In the digital world, trust is a circular construct. The trust cycle connects member trust with information sharing and personalization. That is, user trust leads to greater data availability which opens the door to real-time insight and a seamless and responsive user experience.

Your association is given more (and better) data permissions if your members and users are confident in your capabilities and brand promise. In other words, perceived trustworthiness correlates to higher quantity and quality of data. By rebuilding trust, you're able to collect greater volumes and more valuable data.

Better quality data translates into improved behavioral insights and more intimate, personalized experiences that users expect.

It's important that your audience understands the mutually beneficial nature of digital trust and information sharing. Make digital trust and education key organizational pillars.

The recent implosion of trust makes it difficult to gather valuable member information and create personalized member experiences that add to the cycle of trust and loyalty. 

And if you’re not consistently delivering on trust and member expectations, you're leaving a lot of value on the table. Consider this: consumers spend 25% more on brands they trust. This means “trustworthy” brands are earning 25% more revenue from loyal patrons.

#5 - Quantify the Trust Factor

The "trust factor" is essential to the brand promise. The way we deliver on that promise amid rapid innovation and digital adoption is through the member experience.

The more trust you earn, the faster rates of revenue and the bigger the gains.

Many organizations today consider the trust factor as the most important metric of organizational value.

That is, effective leaders are actively measuring the trust factor and tracking changes in the short and long term. Though it may seem intangible, the trust factor is a quantifiable performance indicator.

#6 - Advance Data Analytics for Hyper-Personalization

Organizations must synthesize and act on personal information to drive the personalized consistency that users expect. Making marketing personalization work requires real-time data intelligence.

Through AI, machine learning, and predictive analytics, you can get better insights from each user at scale. The good news is that there are user-friendly tools that do the work for you behind the scenes. It’s your job to set the strategy in motion.

#7 - Humanize AI

Are you able to act on real-time data intelligence? Can you create personalized experiences at scale? You need to be able to pinpoint the next-best action recommendation for each user in a sequential, dynamic, and interactive context. 

Artificial intelligence systems like AI-enabled chatbots trained solely on your organization's content, email auto-personalization, predictive analytics, and content intelligence make member outreach more individualized and engaging.

Through AI technologies today, you can connect more deeply with members and foster a high level of digital trust and intimacy. Delivering consistent personalization across channels and time sounds way more complicated than it is with the accessibility of AI.

#8 - Leverage Two-Way Engagement

Earning consent to access, store, and process personal data is a required step to unleash the magic of data-driven personalization on powerful engagement tools.

AI-powered engagement tools allow you to create emotional, loyalty-driven interactions at scale.

#9 - Implement Zero-Trust Cybersecurity

Zero-party data is becoming more important than other data sources in engaging individuals throughout the member lifecycle. Just as it sounds, zero-trust approach helps you securely collect data and increase security.

#10 - Integrate First-Party Data Strategy

Tech advancements have cleared the way for first-party data (aka data you collect directly from interactions with users on your own channels) to provide more personalized, relevant experiences. 

Done right, a sustainable first-party data strategy can strengthen brand loyalty and the relationship you have with your audience, including your members, users, website visitors. The key to first-party data for successful personalization and privacy is how you gather and manage data. Central to the debate is data privacy, and the right to control what data is collected and what’s not. 

Making first-party data work is about much more than compliance, crisis mitigation, and brand management. It requires you to give users control over the digital journey and their personalized content.

Create a digital policy that takes a holistic approach to personalization, privacy, and compliance. Any organization that gathers personal information or uses tracking cookies in any way must comply with information privacy rights. The most integrated compliance framework to date is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

To become a trusted leader in the eyes of the public means being thinking in terms of public good, not mere compliance. Go beyond data security practices and regular compliance checks in your organization's privacy culture. Align your information technology (IT) processes, technology, and people behind your strategic plan and budget. And be sure to establish open lines of communication.


Read More: Privacy-First Personalization: 12 Challenges to Conquer


Wrap-Up: Trust and Transformation

Rapid change and digital friction have created a trust gap like never before. Our strategic goals may have shifted in the age of digital transformation, but trust is still a core human element that remains central to the brand promise. 

Achieving greater trustworthiness requires transparency and data availability to be a central part of your business initiatives. It'll help to regain the confidence of your members and the public while also powering transformative digital experiences. 

Emily Shine

Topics: Content Strategy

Written by Emily Shine

Emily Shine is a content writer and SEO strategist who helps purpose-driven organizations and entrepreneurs build their online presence. When she's not behind the computer, you can catch her in the park, gigging on a stompbox, or playing tennis.