How to Build Trust with Effective Leadership Communications

In moments of hardship, people turn towards people, not brands. While only 50% of people trust brands to start, 83% of people trust the opinions of other individuals, according to research from Nielson, and this has never proven more evident than now.

39% of individuals think corporations could do more to put the welfare of their customers above their own profits so, in moments like these, leaders of all industries and company sizes must have communications strategies readied to help show humanity and build trust during these times.

Brand trust relies on executive voices

Leaders have a unique opportunity to provide relief to their corporate brand’s audience and humanize events when the going gets tough.

It’s still possible for leaders to create meaningful content that will instill hope and build brand trust. The goal should be to show empathy with your audience and reinforce your customers’ decisions to use your services during difficult times.

Leaders shouldn’t shy away from being active on social media. In fact, they should embrace it, knowing that being part of the online community during times like these provides much-needed support to their audience and will build trust and benefit the business over the longer term.

These are our team’s best tips on measures executives should take during moments of crisis:

Share content relevant to your audience and authentic to you

During unsettling moments, it becomes increasingly important to focus on authenticity and relevancy. Use an approach like Delightful Communication’s AURA content framework, (Authentic, Useful, Relevant, and Actionable), to make sure you put your brand’s best foot forward while ensuring your audience isn’t thinking, “so what?”.

Try building a connection with your audience and providing information and posts that are positive and relevant to them and their lives. Ask your audience what they need and try to offer the support they need.

Share company resources that apply to your audience and provide them with information or resources that benefit them.

Showcase customer stories

Listen to your executive’s audience by interacting with them online. This could be as simple as a call-to-action in a social post asking individuals to share their stories of how they are coping.

While you share updates that follow the AURA approach, consider sharing the inspiring stories of your customers and partners.

Through sharing customers and partner success stories, your audience can meaningfully connect when they’re able to see themselves in others – people not just pixels.

What people need in times of crisis is understanding and hope. Keep posts and stories heartfelt and real and show how others like them are taking advantage of the resources your company has to provide during hard times.

Be considerate with language and tone

While it’s important to always be compassionate, in times of crisis it’s even more valuable to show and write with empathy.

Pay special mind to buzzwords associated with or surrounding the crisis or events. Overused phrases are easy to come by and don’t show a depth of thought behind the post. Instead, being original with your language can give your audience reassurance that as a leader, you’re not just using corporate buzz speak, but making a true effort to connect and show humanity.

Approach the elephant in the room

For many people, the recent COVID-19 crisis has been a shared experience among families, companies, and industries. People need the support of one another to make it through bad times.

Lead with the reality that we go through times of crisis as a community and use that mindset to show support and resilience with your audience. Using these tactics will pay dividends in not only building brand loyalty but also in establishing hope while we navigate hardships and look to the future together.

Thanks for reading. We invite you to explore more details on our Executive Communications & Leadership Branding practice and reach out to us at with any questions.

Victoria Solis – Executive Communications & Branding Strategist, Delightful Communications

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