Friday, August 22, 2008

Building Trust through Communication

A recent blog post found on the Public Relations Society of America’s ComPRehension blog written by Gerald Baron, struck a chord with me. Baron is the Founder and CEO of PIER Systems, a provider of crisis communication management technology and in his post, “Does Trust Really Matter?” he addresses the need for honest public relations and communications in business today despite changing economic times.

With the weak economy bearing down on every industry, numbers are the driving force behind measuring a business’ success. It can become easy to forget about long-term relationship building through communication in terms of building consumer trust. In my opinion, it would be a huge mistake to let communications fall by the wayside in the wake of shrinking budgets and economic recession.

According to Baron, “Some seem to think that the business of business is profits only. The smart ones know to first build trust and value, and money will follow.”

In today’s world, with customers accessing social media outlets like blogs, the importance for businesses to effectively reach out to its customers has increased. When the time is taken to listen to the customer and build trust, the outcome will surely be reflected in the overall bottom-line. Trust in a brand will fuel word-of-mouth marketing for loyal customers to pass on their recommendations of trusted companies, products or stores to others.

As a recent college graduate, fresh to the workforce, many of my fundamental PR classes are still fresh in my mind. Throughout my four years of Communications studies, my professors and class material has emphasized the need for honest communication in any industry. Much like conversations with a trusted friend, businesses need to focus on creating a two-way street for communication to ensure growth and success.

I believe that the issue of trust needs to be taken seriously and I agree with Baron’s blog when he states that, “without the focus on building trust through effective communication, we may be left to focus on important goals, like finding new employment.”

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