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Building trust… George Bailey-style Jim Huebner

It's that time of year again, when I blow the dust off the DVD player, grab a couple of hankies, and plug in one of my many copies of It's A Wonderful Life for the annual viewing.

The movie has been my favorite since the mid-1980's, probably because it's so easy to relate to George's quest for greener grass. Little did he know that while searching for it, the trust and loyalty he was building through his everyday interactions with his community was actually the thing that would one day save him.

If only companies could build brand trust the way George Bailey does in It's A Wonderful Life. Not only would they be more successful, but the world might just be a little better place, too.

So how did he do it? How did George Bailey build trust in his "brand"? Well, the list is long, but here are six things he did consistently...

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP.

George was THE thought leader in his community when it came to housing. As co-owner of the Bailey Brothers Building & Loan, he had very specific views on home ownership, and he made the entire community aware of (and benefit from) those views. This positioned him as an expert and added trust in him personally and his company's brand.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT.

In George's case, it was his local community. In your case, it might be your online community or the industry in which you're involved. Either way, being engaged and involved certainly helps establish trust in the brand.

COMPASSION.

Standing up for the little guy. Listening to and helping solve customer problems. Doing things for the "greater good" and not solely for the bottom line. All of this goes a long way in building brand trust.

TRANSPARENCY.

You could see through George to his back collar button. It was one more reason people trusted him. He made himself vulnerable with little to hide. Brands need the same thing a culture of transparency as they pursue building consumer trust in their brand.

DEPENDABILITY.

Over the years, hundreds of people came to depend on George. They relied on him for home loans, for civic service, for advice, and for help in times of need. He was consistently there for his family and friends...and established more and more trust along the way.

RECIPROCITY.

George made sure to take care of those who took care of him and it paid off a hundred fold (er, seven-thousand fold) in the end. When a manufacturer has the backs of their sales channels with responsiveness, support and the tools they need for success over time, dealer/channel loyalty will never be deeper... and the strength of the company never greater.

If you're looking for some inspiration, be sure to take time to watch It's A Wonderful Life this holiday season. It could be a great first step in getting your clients to trust your brand...George Bailey style.