Measuring the Impact of Trust

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Trust and reputation have real economic value, and now thanks to big data tools we may be able to measure it.

Reputation management has long been considered a soft topic under the purview of public relations teams. In recent years, senior business executives seem to have grown increasingly aware of the tangible impact crises of trust can have on their businesses. However, it is still often a leap of faith for many to make a full commitment of money and staff resources to address issues fully or invest in reputation strengthening in advance.

With more accessible data flows and analytics platforms, we may finally be able to quantify the bottom line impact of trust. Tanya Seejay, CEO of Orenda Software Solutions, spoke to this topic during the IBM InterConnect conference, as she discussed how her team uses data analytics to measure the effect of crises of trust.

She offers a good reminder that we are living in the era of a Trust Economy where buying decisions are influenced by reputation. At the same time we’re also experiencing a Trust Crisis, which shows up in a number of studies including the 2017 edition of Edelman’s Trust Barometer.

Interestingly much of the data Orenda’s platform uses to analyze reputational impact is drawn from social media sources, according to Seajay. Their approach highlights the value that can come from having a strong, positive presence with your audiences via a social content program. In the communications world, we often talk about building up a reservoir of goodwill and trust as an asset especially in case of unexpected reputational issues.

There’s no time like the present to start on that work. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you consider using a content publishing program to build a solid foundation of trust with your audiences:

1.) Be aware of your context: The Trust Barometer is a great resource for understanding general opinions. Professionals and organizations need to go one step further and understand the micro context of their industry and community. Listening via social media monitoring tools and actively reviewing news coverage — including the comments posted by readers in response to articles — is important as you shape the content you plan to share.

2.) Decide on your content strategy: Successful organizations and professionals know the topics for which they want to be recognized and use their insights to build credibility and connection with audiences. They also make a decision early on about whether they will engage in commentary on controversial, political and policy topics or not.

3.) Be sure you are adding value: It takes a lot of work to create and publish content. If you are doing it right, the information, tips, guides and insights you are delivering to your audiences will strengthen your bond with them. Tracking key metrics for how your content is performing as well as reviewing the qualitative comments from your audiences will clearly let you know if you’re on the right track to using content publishing to build a following as a trusted source.

As the tools to measure trust rapidly evolve, there’s never been a better time to get started on a content strategy that bolsters your reputation with the audiences you want to reach.