Finance Industry Must Publish to Build a Critical Commodity: Trust

by Rakhal Ebeli @rakhalebeli

In finance, few commodities are more valuable than trust. Marketing expert Seth Godin puts it well, explaining, “In a world of zero marginal cost, being trusted is the single most urgent way to build a business.”

Unfortunately for financial institutions, trust can be easily lost or damaged. Scandals, unpredictable global markets and internal disputes take a great toll on a company’s image, often leading to long-term loss of public confidence.

So, how can brand publishing help?

Content builds a trust surplus

Content provides a platform for financial institutions and services to actively engage and build relationships with the public. This helps create a trust surplus and buffer against negative press and public scrutiny.   

It is more important than ever for the finance industry to invest in this truth ‘trust fund’.  According to The Edelman Trust Barometer, trust in Australian institutions has fallen to GFC lows. Of the 27 countries surveyed in the study, Australia recorded the largest drops in confidence with public trust falling 11 points to 48 per cent. CEOs ranked as the least credible sources with only 33 per cent of respondents saying they would be trusted. But there’s an upside. The study also finds that institutions can win trust through brand publishing. Of those surveyed, 49 per cent said that an institution that created its own content (if one uses the company and/or its products) was a more trusted author than a journalist (42 per cent) or a celebrity (23 percent).

By turning to brand publishing, financial companies have the opportunity to lift their trust rating and strengthen their image as a credible and respected source.

Trust converts to customers

When financial companies invest in content they also invest in customers. Brand publishing builds a trust surplus – not only to protect against brand and reputation risks but also to increase a company’s client base. According to the Edelman survey, more than half (57 per cent) of respondents refused to buy products and services from a company they did not trust, while 49 percent criticised them to a friend or colleague.

On the flip side, 76 per cent actively sought out products and services from companies they trusted. In this case, the influence of trust, built by consistent and engaging content, extends beyond the realm of image and into the world of cold, hard numbers.

Opportunity for thought leadership

Brand publishing offers the finance industry a space to define their value proposition and articulate their vision. According to Tim Riches, Chief Executive Officer for Edelman Australia, this space has become increasingly more valuable as the public demands more of brands and their communication strategies.

He explains, “In an environment of increasing uncertainty, leaders from both business and government are under more pressure to provide clarity of future direction. In order to build trust, leaders need to communicate their vision and strategy – where we’re going and why as well as how it benefits society and contributes to the greater good.”

Brand publishing is this opportunity. It is an invitation for financial institutions to lead, to grow and inspire a new generation of trust-hungry, community-seeking clients. 

Rakhal Ebeli is a journalist and the CEO of Newsmodo.