If done well, your target audience will trust your brand to deliver what it has promised and be loyal to it. They will even
forgive the brand if there is ever a bad experience. Moments of truth exist in any type of relationship that can make or break
Agencies can play a valuable role in helping a company build a brand by understanding the company, the product, and the customer
(be it physician, pharmacist, or patient)well enough to put the brand's message and promise into the proper context. They
can also help ensure the company communicates a consistent message and clearly manages expectations and perceptions.
Still, at the end of the day, pharma companies must steward their brands by routinely asking such questions as:
- Have we been clear with the physician about the product, and not over-promised the benefit?
- Are we supporting the physician with clear educational materials for his or her patients?
- Are we providing the service, the information, and the necessary access to our company/product?
- If a problem does occur, are we prepared to deal with it transparently?
A trust position is maintained through the brand/company's actions, performance, and experience. As Abraham Lincoln said,
"Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing."
Al Topin is president of Topin Associates. He can be reached at
HONEST AND NON-HYPERBOLIC
By Bob Mason
ARGUABLY, trust is always a prime component, if not the prime component, we're trying to establish with our audiences.
Millions of business school students around the globe have had the mantra drilled into their heads, but it bears repeating
here: A brand is a promise kept. And, of course, keeping a promise is the foundation of trust.
In today's hypercompetitive marketplace, where there's a "me too" product at every turn, the temptation is simply to overpromise
and proverbially "outshout" the competi-tion. (Advertising Age even recently ran an article titled "Don't Convince Us that Your Brand's Better If It Isn't.") It's apparent that this approach
to communication just annoys today's smarter-than-ever customer.
My advice? To break through the din—and not just add to it—we need to come up with brand ideas that are more credible, relevant,
and "ownable"—the crux of solid positioning. And we need to assume an honest and non-hyperbolic tone in our communications
and sales approach.
This takes rigor and strategic planning to build the cogent, credible story around our brands. But, perhaps even more challenging,
it also takes an element of restraint to avoid overstating what our brands do and alienating our audience.
Bob Mason is senior vice president, director of brand strategy for Palio Communications. He can be reached at
By Forrest King
YES, you can brand to build trust. But in order to do that, a customer must be reasonably certain the company has the customer's
best interests in mind.