My two posts today will cover the related themes of INTEGRITY and AUTHENTICITY – two concepts which are, I’d argue, essential to building TRUST in your organisation and confidence in your brand.
If you asked most people to suggest the embodiment of INTEGRITY in today’s world, they might struggle – names like Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln or Winston Churchill would surely come up, although none of these have been without controversy in their lifetimes or in subsequent historical analysis. And of course, none of these is alive today.
So which are the most trusted BRANDS of today? According to Marketing Magazine The AA, the Post Office and Boots were the most trusted UK brands in 2014, whereas in a 2013 survey John Lewis took first place from US web giants Amazon, which fell to fourth placing following a backlash over its corporation tax bill.
Of course, we will all have a view about these people and these brands, based on personal experience, political views, religious beliefs, and so on. The fact that Amazon held on to fourth place suggests that its success in delivering for consumers offsets, at least partially, its tax arrangements – perhaps because Amazon’s stated Mission is “to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavours to offer its customers the lowest possible prices,” rather than to be Earth’s most diligent tax-paying company.
Winston Churchill, too, had many flaws and many failures, however his core purpose was, as he believed, ‘to carry out heroic deeds for the protection of Christian civilization and human progress.’ Through his inspiring and courageous leadership in World War Two he delivered on that mission, in spades! Hence he is regarded by many as the Greatest Briton in history.
INTEGRITY, then, is about being and acting consistently with your core PURPOSE. Put simply, always delivering what you say you will. If you do that, people will forgive you what you are NOT, because they value and appreciate what you ARE.
How to discover your PURPOSE then, and how to ensure that you are consistent with it in all that you say and do, and thus earn the TRUST and loyalty of your Team and your Clients, will be the subject of our next post.