Brand trust and value

A couple of recent SmartCompany articles on recent brand surveys begs the question; what are they measuring to get such different results?

An article on SmartCompany last week talked about the most “trusted” brands in Australia. Last week the most “valuable” brands were also discussed. You can have a look at the full lists and overall results, but there is one in particular I found interesting and wanted to explore with you.


The most valuable brand in terms of total value was NAB, however the most trusted financial services brand was ING Direct followed by Bendigo Bank and then St George. As a brand that is trusted, NAB comes in last behind all the other big banks. So what’s going on? What’s missing from the measure of “value” that trust isn’t counted? Clearly it can be measured (Readers Digest did it in their survey).


Brand is what you believe and what your actions show. When those two things come together in alignment you get strong brands that are trusted and deliver on their promises both internally and externally, and generally also have strong financial performance. When the criteria used to “value” a brand only looks at financial measures* (marketing budget, customer acquisition, revenues, etc) then a huge piece of the brand puzzle goes missing.


While the reported brand value may influence investment decisions, customers, employees and many other stakeholders are influenced by a far more basic equation – does this organisation do what it says it will? That is the basis of trust and seems to me to be the fundamental reason why the two surveys have such different results.


I am not saying that financial measures don’t matter, however when taken out of context from trust, loyalty and other so called “soft” indicators, I am saying it gives skewed results.


So how should you look at the value and more importantly strength of your own brand? Here are a few ideas to get you started.


Look at how many new customers do you get and more importantly keep. When customers leave, do you know why? What is your employee turnover like and if they are leaving, why are the leaving?


What is the feedback from your customer service people – do you have irate people calling to complain about things constantly or is that the exception? Do your back office operations make it easier or harder to do business in alignment with your promises?


And yes, look at your financial performance, but do it from as many different angles as you can find – not just basic P&L and balance sheet. For example, what is your revenue per customer, is that different if they are long-standing customers versus new customers?


So the message here is that finance, customer service, HR, marketing and sales are ALL indicators of your brand (there are many others as well – technology, R&D, manufacturing – the list is as long as operating areas your organisation has). With all that in mind, is there really any wonder that the two surveys delivered such different results?


(If you are interested in another take on trust as it relates to your organisation, check out my “quantum theory of trust” blog from last year).



See you next week!

* The actual formula used to establish the brand valuations of the Brand Finance Survey is proprietary and confidential, my comments are based on criteria used in other “brand valuation” type surveys.


Alignment is Michel’s passion. Through her work with Brandology here in Australia, and Brand Alignment Group in the United States, she helps organisations align who they are, with what they do and say to build more authentic and sustainable brands.

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