Trust reminds me of the simple things in life – as simple as making a promise. Then going ahead and keeping it. Trust cannot be assumed, it has to be built.

Whilst growing up, we were taught that trust was earned when promises became action. We would sometimes be told during the week that all of us would be off for a day at the beach that coming Saturday. It was the idea of going and spending time there that was so exciting. No one mentioned the rules, disclaimers, “ifs and buts” – just that Saturday would be beach day. Sometimes that Saturday would come and it would be raining. The immediate jolt of reality would hit us. Through no fault of our own or anyone in particular, the beach day was inevitably not going to happen.

But on one such rainy Saturday, my grandmother (who had promised that Saturday would be beach day), was not going to be put off. Soon we departed by train in the rain to the beach. We had the entire beach to ourselves. We had so much fun that day. It remains one of my fondest memories of growing up.

This is how we should manage all interactions with our clients. If a promise is made, it has to be kept. Keeping a promise builds integrity, which earns respect. And by earning respect, trust is built.

Every time we do this, trust is the outcome. The power of your brand relies on this simple idea. To make this a reality, all team members need to understand their role in delivering on that promise and they need to be inspired to contribute with passion. If you help them connect their purpose to the organisation’s purpose they will support the brand promise both sustainably and authentically. It amazes me that the most successful brands out there make really large promises. The only reason they remain successful is because they keep them.

While this is a rather simple idea, we all know how challenging it can be when the promise made is dependent on others making it happen with and for you. Therefore, communicating what the promise is upfront and sharing what it looks like when delivered is key. But to ensure you have their full commitment, it is crucial to keep reminding them of the Why – the organisation’s purpose.

As Warren Buffet puts it: “It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”

By Marcel Pretorius, Business Development Manager

This article first appeared in The Witness.