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Vision: New Trust and Engagement Strategies

Social networks and communities are expressions of people’s need for close relationships, for a sense of belonging and of sharing the same interests, values and experiences.

Sharing between companies and communities helps in personalizing relationships, to produce loyalty and to source information useful to understand stakeholders’ needs, tastes and behaviours. These new possibilities clear the way for new models of brand-stakeholder value creation. This requires horizontal value chains generated by peer-to-peer relationships to be integrated into the economic vertical processes.

This means that all companies have to turn their approach into a ‘social’ one. This doesn’t mean embracing a non-profit perspective. It implies establishing or earning new trust and designing engagement strategies to generate positive win-win situations. This trust is earned not by talking, but by listening and doing. By understanding stakeholders, by choosing the promises that you make to them and by making good on these promises consistently and in the their interests. This implies a need for focused strategies to build value through achieving the stakeholders’ commitment and activating emotional ties to the organisation.

Mobile internet has brought high levels of freedom of action and expression, shared production processes and appreciation of diversity. The shift of communication from media to individuals and people empowerment, due to open access to information, generates a need for a new type of brand-customer dialogue. The ability to interact effectively with customers is becoming strategic in building long-lasting relationships.

The web-conversational environment has disoriented many companies in the perception of change. It can be seen as a threat or an opportunity. The brand-customer interaction is based on both a rational and an irrational relation; the dependency between the two shows a position of power on the customer side, but also possibilities for the brand to grow in control by the management of expectations, co-creation processes, web analytics, and engagement over time: in brief, a trust strategy, an integrated course of actions to build and maintain a trust relationship. The trust strategy helps organisations to focus on the brand-consumer relationship and building the base for engagement.

The (mobile) web is a dynamic and interactive environment. Each brand-customer touch-point allows an interaction that offers the possibility of starting a conversation. Dialogue is relevant within a trust strategy since it represents the basis for establishing a trustworthy relation that can lead to engagement.

The challenge for companies will be to facilitate the dialogue on a par level with the stakeholder, no matter whether customer, employee or shareholder. The days of vertical communication are getting numbered and will be replaced by more horizontal communication. In order to improve communication and allow the building of trust we need to know a lot about each other. Companies will need to adjust and share to be considered trustworthy holders of information about their stakeholders.

Zapp sees it as its mission to facilitate the ability to interact effectively with stakeholders, which will be strategic in building long-lasting relationships.

Insights: What We Know