I'm sure you've heard of the trust exercise. They've become a cliche at team building seminars. Co-workers gather in a circle and catch a colleague who falls from chair. They have faith that their teammates will catch them.
We do the same thing every day. Every time you get on a plane, every passenger hands their life to the pilot as part of a collective trust exercise. Every time we pass an intersection -- on foot or in a vehicle, we trust that the other motorists will stop.
Every time we go to the store, we trust that what we're buying is what we've been promised. I often remind clients that brands are living entities. You can't just create a brand and leave it be. It needs to be curated, directed, and nourished. Sometimes it needs to be washed up and refreshed. It always needs to be monitored and managed.
The recent fallouts with Volkswagen and Wells Fargo are a case in point. Trusting in the promise of the brand is everything. When the trust is broken, there's work to be done.
"Brands don't matter," you say? "I buy what I believe in," you say? "I'm not influenced by advertising," you say? I recently spotted this in a Walmart. How many of you would select the package with no label? And the reason you won't is because you don't trust it.
Consistent and recognizable graphics. Consistent and believable messaging. That builds trust.
The trust is really built in the "what you do" part of that above equation. You can have terrible advertising, an ugly logo and so on, BUT if you have a great product, you can succeed in spite of yourself. When your message (what you say) matches your product or service experience (what you do) your brand will build trust. That's where branding begins and when you lose that trust, it's where it ends.