Business innovation is a major focus for all companies. But how can you ensure that the changes you’re making, from new processes to new products, are being received how you want them to be?
According to this 2015 report by Edelman, the answer is age-old: build trust. Findings were pulled together from a survey of over 33,000 industry professionals around the world. Edelman examined how companies can build trust with consumers and prospects, and the specific attributes that boost trustworthiness in products, services, and organizations overall. And, understanding how your company is currently perceived by the market is crucial to figuring out how to organize business innovation efforts going forward.
Key Drivers and Actions
The report highlights five “performance clusters” that businesses should focus on: integrity, engagement, products and services, purpose, and operations. Of these, data suggests that the best opportunities for brands to build trust in their business innovation efforts exist at the intersection of integrity and engagement.
How can your business take advantage and demonstrate trustworthiness? Based on the findings, companies that perform well in these areas typically:
- Create ethical business functions
- Take responsibility to address issues or crises
- Have transparent and open business practices
- Listen to customer needs and feedback
- Treat employees well
- Place customers ahead of profit
- Frequently communicate on the state of the business
The Secret Sauce for Successful Business Innovation
Once you’ve established the foundation for building trust, Edelman’s findings suggest that there is, in fact, a formula you can follow for successful business innovation. And, it turns out, it’s actually pretty simple:
1. Bring truly unique information to the table. In other words, don’t regurgitate competitor research. Don’t expect vague anecdotes to be acceptable replacements for concrete results and benefits that you offer. Do be a genuine thought leader.
2. Focus on tangible solutions. Companies that address both business and social challenges are perceived as trustworthy far more often than those that are clearly only interested in making a profit.
3. Have integrity. Be ethical, be accountable, and be transparent.
4. Be engaging. This is what Edelman considers the “multiplying factor.” They suggest a consistent drumbeat of communication about your company, initiatives, and products in order to keep consumers’ attention.