Trust is a variable that is under-valued in today’s marketplace. Think for a moment about your go-to brands. What factors make you return time and again? Chances are, reputation enters into the equation.
A case study for what can happen when companies compromise their values is that of the Honest Co. The socially conscious startup introduced a line of products marketed as alternatives to traditional cleaning products on the market, like laundry detergent. According to their website, “(w)hen we were trying to think of a name for our company, we thought we should choose something that reflected our core values and highest aspirations. The Honest Company was the clear choice.”
Yet the Honest Co. didn’t live up to its name. The company was outed in a Wall Street Journal article last fall. It’s laundry detergent wasn’t as clean as it was reported to be. The company entered a downward spiral with a product recall and later legal trouble. They were forced to reformulate the product in question, but no doubt the damage was done in the form of weakened reputation and eroded trust.
To make matters worse, imagine the reaction when founder Jessica Alba announced in March that it would replace its CEO with a former Clorox executive. The brand promise that Alba as a founder worked to develop and deliver was nearly destroyed overnight.
So what’s the takeaway here? Follow through on your promises. The Honest Co. is a cautionary tale in what can happen when you abandon values for the sake of profit. Failing to deliver on your promise hurts your pocketbook just as much as the customer in the end. Be honest and the rest will follow.