Natalie Novak  

Hi everyone, good morning. Welcome to day three of CES and the sea space storytellers stage. My name is Natalie Novak and I'm an agent at UTA, and I'm thrilled to be one of your MCs for today's storyteller stage. Over the past two days, we've heard from some amazing executives responsible for many of the most compelling innovations in media and marketing. But we aren't done yet. We have five fantastic sessions today and we hope you can join us for each of them. First up is a session entitled in brands we trust we're leading marketers will discuss how brands earn trust with an increasingly skeptical consumer base. Please welcome to the stage. Russell Dubner, Chief Executive Officer, Edelman and panelists Becca Han, Consumer Head of Consumer Insights at Brandless. Evelyn Huang, Chief Customer Experience Officer at Sunrun. Tuula Rytila, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft and Shiv Singh, Chief Marketing Officer at Eargo. Please welcome panelists.


Russell Dubner  

All right. Well, good morning. Thank you all for joining us here today. We have a fascinating and important topic, which is about trust and brands and a bit about corporate trust as well. And excited Thank you back Evelyn Tula Shiv for being on the stage. We have a group here of both, you know, stalwart institutions and attackers that are making changes related to trust. And so we're going to have a great dialogue. I'm going to lay out a little bit of context for the discussion, and then we're going to get right into it. So at Edelman, we've been studying trust for the last 20 years, we talked to 30,000 people across 28 markets every year. In the last two years, we've been looking at trusted brands, not just institutions. And I think three important things for this discussion related to trust and brands. One is that brands used to be just about is, are we making white wider for your teeth, your clothes? Are you making your hair shiny or and now What we're looking at is that trust is also about your experience and about purpose. So nearly 70% of people believe that that full suite of trust is incredibly important to them in what they purchase, what they advocate what they will defend. And only about 47% of people believe that trust in the product itself is paramount. So you see, there's that gap there, that also plays into when you have overall trust in in a brand. It's 80 some odd percent that people think that trust is important for a brand, but only 34% of people believe that they trust the brands they even use. There's real skepticism, though, that companies are doing these changes around purpose for the right reasons that 56% of people think that it's trust washings there's great skepticism and last is trusted sources of information. And that people, three out of four are blocking ads. And 68% of people believe that information that comes from an influencer versus the company that itself is more trustworthy. So with that as our preamble, maybe we can just you guys can say, Hello, talk a little bit about your company and how this most relates to you, Becca?


Becca Han  

Sure. And I. So I'm from brandless. And we are a mission driven CPG company that's really focused on offering products that are better for you and better for the environment. So one of the things that I'm really excited to learn more about and you know, think about how we apply the learnings is, we've been able to build trust very organically. So we've always been very community minded. And that's really helped us in our two years of being in existence. So how do we continue to build trust as we continue to scale


Evelyn Huang  

I'm Evelyn I'm with Sunrun and Sunrun is the largest and leading residential energy service company. So we provide solar and batteries to homeowners, we have about 270,000 customers across 23 states. And for us, the industry and solar has changed quite a bit that initially, you had to have a lot of cash to pay for solar. And sunrun changed that model that we can offer this as a monthly service contract. And what we found is the more and more consumers that are taking us up on that, we realize it's not simple. And there's a lot of solar companies that try to get out there and say it's simple. It's simple. It's simple. When for the customer, you're trying to understand the technology, you're trying to understand the financing options, you're trying to make the best decision and and do cost benefit analysis with other choices you could make. So it's not simple. So how do we actually establish that relationship? customers and build trust without promising that it's simple from the outset. Right?


Tuula Rytila  

Thank you. So my name is Tuula Rytila, and I run the digital stores for Microsoft. And we are kind of the company front door, whether you walk into a physical Microsoft Store Are you come to Microsoft com that, you know, the homepage that my team runs? And absolutely, you know, one of our core ambitions is to, you know, create trust with customers. And if I'm thinking, the bigger Microsoft, you know, our mission is to help empower people and individuals and organizations to achieve more and really help them in cloud transformation. So trust is foundational, you want to be able to trust Microsoft to put your data and your, you know, private information in our cloud. So, you know, trust is not only nice to have it, it's a must have


Shiv Singh  

My name is Shiv Singh, I'm the Chief Marketing Officer of year ago, we're in the business of dealing with what is the third most common health condition in the country, after heart disease and arthritis. And as hearing loss. We have a direct to consumer company, we have a hearing aid solution for the 50 million people who suffer from hearing loss. We sell direct to consumers, which means we sell online and over the phone only. And we sell this virtually invisible product that costs $3,000. And we compete with companies that sell solutions from anywhere from $10,000 to $50. And we sell online without giving someone a chance just by virtue of our business model to actually play around with this. So for us, Trust is everything because you're buying such an expensive product that you're putting in your body without having a chance to actually test it even.


Russell Dubner  

Right, well. Thank you Again, for those intros, and you can see we have a set of both opportunities and challenges related to trust with the leaders we have on the stage. And maybe, Becca, you can start, I think the foundation of your business is around what was a gap and trust? Can you talk about both the journey to formulate and how that shifted over the period of time as you got more and more engaged with your consumer?


Becca Han  

Sure. So, you know, what brandless was founded on was this mission of how do we really bring products in terms of consumer packaged goods to people that are non toxic, that are actually sustainable, and at a price that the majority of Americans can really afford? Because we don't believe that, you know, being able to take care of your family or taking care of the environment are only for people with means. So that's really where we saw an opportunity and a gap in the market and One of the things that we were very intentional about in the very beginning and that we've continued to stay committed to is our sourcing standards. So it's something that we've continued to look at. And it started with, for example, when we launched our beauty products, we actually banned over 300 ingredients. So that's compared to about the 20 or 30 ingredients that are banned by the FDA. So it's we wanted to be able to actually inspire trust and build that sort of credibility with our consumers by actually standing up a really high standard. And we've continued to do that. So recently, we launched CBD, and we decided to take actually a fairly risk averse approach. So given it is a category that isn't necessarily regulated just yet, we want it to we wanted to be really mindful in terms of how we looked across the entire supply chain. So from looking At our manufacturers and farmers where we looked at the hemp, where did it come from? You know, where did the water come from? How is it grown? What is the quality of the soil all the way through to? are they following good manufacturing practices through to actually third party testing everything that they claim. And so it's something that we want to stay committed to, because it's something that we don't want to lose as we continue to scale.


Russell Dubner  

You know, that notion of radical transparency is so important in trust today. And I, what we've seen is even from an investor perspective, there are venture funds that look for those gaps in trust. So whether it's in financial services and other were regulated industries, where people are unable to see like, what where these prices coming from, you know, what's on my bill and why so there's an arbitrage there that even investors are seeing. So it's always interesting to follow the money and wire dollars going into there and You know, I think, Evelyn, there's components of this as you're looking at the energy space. So maybe you can talk a little bit about that trust opportunity in energy and how you guys are tackling that.


Evelyn Huang  

Great, yes, what one of my favorite context setting to get into the minds of the customer is to realize that the average person in the US spends a total of nine minutes a year, thinking about electricity and energy. That's very small. And there's a reason for that we've all experienced opening up our electric bill, half of us probably don't do that on a regular basis anymore. And the first thing you see our terms like kilowatt, how many of us can explain what a kilowatt is? And so immediately at the beginning, there is this knowledge gap. And what I love about what we're talking about with translate Parents is oftentimes as companies, when that happens when you have more technical language, you think about how do I educate my customer. And I really like flipping that on its head. Because as a customer of many things, products, etc. I never want to be educated by my company. It's not the language I use, I think about how can you provide me as clear and accurate information as possible so I can be the master of my decision. So I can do what's right for me so I can do what's right for my family so I can do what's right for my community. So I really approach this by flipping it on its head and saying, yes, there is a dearth of information and education is necessary. But that mindset of it's not my job as a company to educate the customer, but provide as much information and empower them to make as much good decisions as they can, That's our role.


Russell Dubner  

So Shiv, your goes in an interesting spot because you both have an established industry where people go through this path through audiologists, where they perceive that they're going to get a better outcome because they're going through an expert. And meanwhile, you have these low cost amplifiers that are unregulated. And so how are you building trust with a product that is high quality that can change people's lives, but they don't know when and how to trust? What is that ecosystem of trust building look like for you?


Shiv Singh  

Yeah, you know, it's, it's, it's a great question, and it's actually incredibly exciting. You know, what we found is first and foremost is we actually have more audiologists on staff than 99% of the clinics out there. We had worked with the assumption that the audiologists are just for the post purchase experience. that once you buy the product you need can audiologists passionate about hearing loss and there to help you. What we discovered was by bringing them to the forefront by putting their language and their passion for this and how they will help people in front of our customers via digital means and even on TV, etc, we're able to bridge some of that trust chasm. So that's the first thing. The second thing we found is our strongest, strongest marketing channel. No surprise, is friends and family. And we've as we've talked about evolving, how we market how we communicate with our customers who's, you know, their high net worth individuals, they typically 45 and older. You know, they're sensitive to scams. We've realized that the more we can activate friends and family, and the more we can activate influencers, you know, for example, we have three times Olympic gold medal winner who's an elbow customer, he called us randomly and said, you know, I bought your product, I love it. Don't give me any money. But I'd be happy to talk about it, the more we do things like that actually makes a difference. And then the last pieces along with transparency, we found that when it comes to trust, and this is also research and in my book earlier as well, it's more about the predictability and the consistency that matters. So we've launched a fourth generation product in the marketplace just this week, and being predictable and how we communicate when we communicate, how we match and stay in sync through that entire customer journey, not just to the point of purchase, but for the lifetime of the product or the lifetime of the person is what matters more. And it's really those fundamentals that make all the difference.


Russell Dubner  

Maybe to a we could start ladder up to a corporate level. The expectations of Microsoft are as high as they can come related to privacy and security. Ethics around AI. Can you talk a little bit about how that started out at Microsoft and how that gets embedded?


Tuula Rytila  

Yeah, I think it's, it's really critical that, you know, we realized a few years ago that actually we are in the business of trust. You know, when we are, you know, selling cloud AI, it's actually all about trust. And then you approach it differently. It's not like a marketing campaign that you run, it's actually something that has to be in your culture. And then you have to make it concrete in your products. And and then, you know, then you maybe get to talk about it to your customers, but it's much more like do more and talk less. And then we're trying to make it concrete, like what does trust really mean in our products and in our culture, then it's things like security, there cannot be any risks with security, privacy, you know, when we implemented GDPR. You know, we not only did it in Europe, we did it globally because we want to be a leader in privacy, accessibility. It's really interesting what we've learned about accessibility, you know, my team runs accessibility of our websites as Microsoft, when you do more accessible design for, let's say, visually impaired or people with a hearing disability, you actually do better design for everybody. We did a focus group for Windows 10. Like, you know, how do we improve our MPs or women? Actually, the outcome was like, it's better designed for everybody. So then, you know, you need to do it in your culture in an authentic way. You need to do it in your products. And then, you know, maybe you get to talk about it.


Russell Dubner  

One of the things that we've found and that will be releasing our global trust barometer in Davos, and in Bo guess about 15 days or so, so just to give you a little bit of preview about that, is that one of the things that we've found is that a significant majority of people see that the pace of innovation from technology is too fast. they're uncomfortable. They're feeling disconnected because of that pace. And so there's a trust challenge for technology, given that dynamic. So I'm curious as you think about how you apply technology in your business and how you engage your consumer, if you have a view about how your companies or technology sector overall can grapple with that.


Shiv Singh  

Yeah, so I can jump in. So firstly, I was I was blown away this week at CES when I saw that you can now buy a belt that has all kinds of sensors in it. I mean, that to me was a sign that we've gone a bit too far and what am I going to do with a belt with sensors as well? But more seriously speaking, you know, what we found is that it isn't about the technology. It is about the customer experience that meaningfully impacts you know, our consumers lives. And the best example of that is, you know, when, when this year ago, hearing aid, we get asked a lot doesn't have Bluetooth Does it have all these kinds of fancy sensors in it, but when we actually talk to our customers, and the reason they buy it is because they say, if this thing works, I don't need Bluetooth, I don't need to have my TV streaming directly into my ear. And as a result, we focused on not expanding the feature set so that we can market 200 things. But instead really focusing on sound quality, increasing the bandwidth across frequencies, you know, making it incredibly comfortable, making it so small that it is virtually visible. And that's where we have to always remember that technology can be a force of good, it can be a force for amazing future writers. And it can also be a force for evil in a way and it's all of our responsibilities as human beings to moderate when how we use technology, both in business and in our products and in our personal lives. Yeah.


Russell Dubner  

Other thoughts on that?


Evelyn Huang  

I want to take a little bit of a double Was advocate on this. So I absolutely think that it is the role of business to be the innovators. There isn't another group in the whole ecosystem that plays that role. So I wholeheartedly believe that we should be anchored into our customers and what they need and what they want. But let's look at some of those extreme customers. So instead of looking just at that middle 80%, which is the bell curve that we're all trying to sell to, what is the top 3% wanting, saying and doing? And that can really give us an eye into what the future might hold? certainly true when we look at battery storage and home storage. So what is it that customers are actually trying to do? What are they trying to achieve? And the analogy that I go back to is in Ford days, if you had asked somebody, what do they want in transportation, they would have said a faster horse. So you had to actually really push the edge and it's businesses roles. Play that innovation, and that propels things forward. I think it also propels government, I think it propels consumers to act and think in a different way.


Russell Dubner  

So Tuula as the global representative on here, how do you think about that?


Tuula Rytila  

Well, I would build on what that Evelyn said, because it's actually it's a great point. And I think, you know, even what your study shows, it's, it's great that customers are demanding more of companies. And then we talked about this, you know, earlier this morning, that that people feel left behind, you know, by technology. So, who even knows what I should be asking? If you think about AI, like artificial intelligence, and how that technology is going to give us you know, new capabilities, not a lot of people understand or the potential of AI so as a customer, you might not even understand you know, what the potential or then let's say the unintended consequences could be. So one of the things you know, that that we've realized that Microsoft like we are the one of the big ones out there, so we Have a greater responsibility and we aspire to do more. And, you know, one of the areas where we're very active is, you know, Ai, and what are the principles that we need to agree upon when we build AI? And then we are actually kind of calling on for more regulation because we feel that we need to have a more like, you know, agreed playing field when it comes to AI. 


Shiv Singh  

Yeah, I think it's really interesting because we, I firmly believe that, as people as members of society, we have to look at technology. Yes, we love the innovation. But when it comes to AI, for example, we have to be careful about the deep fakes. When it comes to social media, we have to be careful about the risks to the democracies that it can or has posed in the past. So absolutely, technology is amazing and innovation is wonderful. But we have to put it in the context of the world we live in, and how trusted relationships happen and as innovators How we have a moral obligation to strengthen that trust between different segments of society.


Russell Dubner  

What do you think in terms of if you're they enable what we have a client who they're an enabler of technology that could actually create deep fakes. And so what they think about is what what's their obligation to make sure in partnership with government and others that the regulation and technology is there to identify it? What do you think the role, we're just going to shift for a minute to minute to a higher level? What's the role of government in this? What are the role of companies, when they can look a couple clicks down? Are they is that their obligation? How do you think about that at a, at a company an institution level?


Tuula Rytila  

I would say that it's a partnership between the companies and the government. Like if I you know, I worked for a long time in mobile technology. And, you know, there we had this partnership model that you know, the company's We're working together with the governments to create standards, you know, GSM, and GSM, and so forth. Now we are almost to five G. So I think in the best case, it's a partnership between governments and companies.


Evelyn Huang  

I describe it a bit as that as a healthy tension. So in the energy space, I'll give a bit of background about how our electricity grid works for a minute. We have a fairly old grid in the country, which ends up meaning we have in America the highest number of blackouts of any developed country, it's often surprising to think about that. And what we've done is on the consumer level, we recognize that people are choosing to get solar to get home batteries, not because they are tree huggers, people are trying to make the right decisions for themselves. They want to save money, do what's right for their family. Prepare in case of a blackout. Those are the reasons But what do we then do with that? Right? We can then say, ah, let me go to a city council. Let me go to a utility company and negotiate. If there's enough people in your community that have solar and that have batteries, you actually don't have to build another power plant. So power plants are built because peak demand happens. Think about this is peak summer, everyone turns on their air conditioned at the same time. So utility companies need to serve that and they'll build up a power plant that may be running 10% of the time, but that power plant might cost a billion dollars. So as an alternative if you have batteries and homes, not only can that customer pull from that battery, and run their air conditioner off of it, if there's excess, they can send that energy back to their community. so others can use it. And this isn't fake. We've actually done this Glendale is an example in Los Angeles where we have an agreement with the City Council, that they are not going to build a new power plant because they're going to rely on this distributed network of residential, solar and batteries.


Russell Dubner  

I want to take it down a couple notches, back to trusted sources of information, because as marketers, communicators, business leaders, they're really questions of what that ecosystem looks like now, and how do you engage credibly with your consumer and a light? And I think back, we were talking earlier about your strategy for this and some of actually the interesting decision points you have because people are so enthusiastic about what you're doing and how you're bringing transparency and affordability to high quality products that you have top tier celebrities coming and saying we want to endorse, you don't even need to pay us a But do you want to attach yourself to those brands? Can you talk a little bit about your strategy related to trusted sources of influence?


Becca Han  

Yeah, definitely. So from the beginning, we really wanted to make sure that whatever whomever we worked with, from an influence perspective, really bought into not only our brand mission, but also really loved our products. So what we tended to do was really focused on building community and leveraging micro influencers. So these might be the influencers that you see on Instagram that have essentially about 100 k followers or less, and we want it to really build a relationship with them. So it wasn't necessarily a one and done. We pay you, you post about us and it's over. So what we've really tried to do is cultivate these relationships. And we've seen that in the organic growth of our social followers. So we're two years old, and we have over a million social followers. Now. With that recently, at the end of last year, we actually had a top tier slip celebrity. Come and approach us, and really just advocate in terms of working with us from a PR perspective. And that started to raise some really interesting questions for us internally. Because we wanted to figure out how do we, if we do go down this route, how do we really do it in an authentic way that feels like it's still organic, and where we won't necessarily alienate some of our consumers in the sense that, you know, they really believe that they're part of building this brand. So, you know, it's something we're still grappling with and trying to figure out how do we really make the right choice? But I think it's definitely, you know, and I imagine will continue to grapple with it.


Russell Dubner  

So we're going to take questions from the audience in a few minutes. So just want to flag that so if you want to jot your question down, don't be shy. You know, there. I think there's something like $6 billion of, you know, investment going into influencer relations. This is some crazy sum of money. And yet when we were talking about this and maybe tool you can share your point of view, you all seem to feel like there's a there's a subtlety and nuance about how to think about this that many marketers aren't considering.


Tuula Rytila  

Yeah, so we use influencers in our, in our marketing and you know, a lot of our surface advertising, if you've seen that on TV, you know, we we showcase customers who use our products. And there, I think it's really critical that it's authentic. So you can't just pay somebody to kind of you know, talk about your product. And then next time, you know, they on social media, they're using your competitors product. So I think it's very important for us to have those authentic users who love our products and want you know, want to be our spokespeople and then there's always a commercial relationship there as well. The other interesting audience is like gamers, we you know, with Xbox and you know, we interact with them on Twitter or mixer or Reddit and these are very influential customer They're very loud. And if something goes wrong, you can check it from your Twitter feed. So there too, I think it's just that you want to be as a brand you want to be very, very authentic.


Shiv Singh  

You know, and and just to build on that something that we do at Google and it's a little similar in some ways is we find it really important to think about it through the lens of customer testimonials. And and not just two or three line, you know, your fabulous type quotes, but rather instead four or five minute videos that are professionally shot. And it's not just about the customer, it's about him or her in their own context, in their own words with their friends and with their family. So it has a very real sense to it, and where they're talking and and and leading the normal lives and showing how solving for hearing loss has literally given them all feels like to them added years into their life. And so you know, we have an office Saw scientists who, you know, his his his career was flattering and and he actually taught hearing loss and not being able to do something about it was a factor and you know, he's an yogo customer. And there's this wonderful video where it's, you know, talk about authenticity, we get to know Him, we get to know his family, and he's really proud of it because he believes in the mission.


Russell Dubner  

So love it, take some questions if we have it from all of you. So if you look for someone with a blue shirt or raise your hand and they'll come find you if you want to pose a question to the to the panel. Got a couple up here. All the way in the front.


Speaker 1  

Is he working yet? Good. I'm just interested in the opening comment about skepticism. You know, getting more overtime. So do you think the news media lack of trust in the general news Media is having kind of wash on effect in terms of lack of trust in brands, because I can see that anecdotally that there's more division in people not trusting news, you know, these are fake facts trust Washington talked about. So I just wonder if there's an impact on the overall lack of trust in the news media having an effect on Brandon's? Really?


Russell Dubner  

Yeah, I'll take that the start and then someone else wants to weigh in. So if we look at the 20 year arc of trust, the media has had this steady decline, you know, sort of like an Arab, probably a bad pun right now, but an Arab an airplane running out of fuel. And so the challenge there is as trust in media has gone down as a resource, it's still the journalists themselves are trusted its media overall. So part of that is who literally is telling your story, not just which media outlet and alike so it takes more conscious thinking about it. I think at the same time, what some of the research has shown is that the expectation for brands is higher. But in the last year, we actually saw a drop in what the delivery on that trust has been. And so one of the things we're talking about maybe one of you guys can weigh in here is well, why is that? And what can be done about it, given the ecosystem itself is really challenged right now.


Shiv Singh  

You know, and I would just add to that, and I saw this earlier in my career to when I was at PepsiCo and Visa, which is, with every passing year, I found I needed to spend more money in advertising to get the same result as a proceeding. Yeah. And it's exactly to that point to, you know, to you raise about the trust in media and media environments is dropping the other piece to it, which is a more recent phenomenon even more problematic as we live in the Post truth era. Whether it's The news, all the advertising. And this was a big topic. And in the book my wife and I wrote is, consumers don't know what to believe anymore, and the more skeptical than ever before. And that's why as Evelyn pointed out, for us as companies and brands to succeed, we have to do more in the local community. So we're there as real people talking to customers. Now, of course, that doesn't necessarily scale always very effectively. But we have to bring that mindset to the equation much more.


Evelyn Huang  

And this ties back to the last part of the conversation when we were talking about influencers and customer stories and testimonials and authenticity. So my read on it is that because people are not trusting what they see, they're actually going to a far more disparate channels of information to find out the truth. And more and more I see that that is shifting towards the people that I know the people that are like me. So that's the local Feeling that's the advocacy that you see from current customers. And that has a more a larger and larger impact on business.


Russell Dubner  

And I think the more company or brand is going to take a stand, the more they really need to back it up deeply. So we have clients who, when they're going to take a stand on a societal issue, if it feels like a campaign, you know, you're going to get backlash now, and we talked about this summit, it can't be just about marketing, because people will sniff that out super fast. So instead, some of the things that we're doing with clients, they'll go actually into dealing with multi state legislation, like how are we going to change the laws around paternity leave related to some work that we do for dove? So they're looking at family empowerment and how that relates to men in the new environment of how you are supporting your family, but it's not just like, hey, there's masculine toxicity. No, this is about empowerment and you got to go deep. You have to look at yourself. So I do think that yes, there's that challenge in the media but if you really are going to make an action lead with that action people will also discover that over time. Next question. Anyone? Yeah, in the back.


Speaker 2  

Hi. Can you talk about what you would do? If you have a instance of trust incursion? Like something happens and you're trusting a company has been broken? What do you what do you do after that? You know, any methodology you would like to employ or what's the mindset in that?


Tuula Rytila  

I can start Yeah, so like I you know, we run the Microsoft stores, and That. And of course, like, you know, there are instances where something goes wrong customers trying to buy our product, we have a delivery issue, you know, something happens, not just on a very kind of global, big scale, but like on a mundane thing every day. And what we've learned about those things is so important to like, empower your first line, whether it's your support center, or your first line in the store to make good by the customer. And that kind of empowerment, and you know, really putting the customer first is so critical. And you have to think about this, you know, you have to react quickly, and you have to be fair, and you have to make good by the customer. And that's the moment to really think about lifetime value versus, you know, an individual transaction. And what we've learned, you know, we use net promoter score to measure customer satisfaction, that those are kind of the big moments, the kind of the same moments when you've when something has gone wrong, but wrong. By the customer and you solve it for them like that, how grateful they are. So it's actually very rewarding moments for us as well.


Evelyn Huang  

Something to reinforce this. This is the the heath brothers, their their book, The Power of moments. There's a section in there that talks specifically about this. And it actually says that those recovery moments are one of the key moments that matter. And if you do that well and you actually delight the customer, so not only fill it up, back to normal and recover, but delight the customer that actually sticks out as a long lasting moment in your customers memory,


Becca Han  

something that we do as well. So last year, we went through a process in which we actually changed the products that we offer to our product assortment. And, you know, Shiv you mentioned two of the things that really drive trust our consistency and reliability. So all of a sudden you can imagine our customers that can came to rely on us for certain products that we were exiting. And initially, we made a mistake. We did not announce this. And, you know, so really what we started to do was how do we really be transparent about these changes, you know, and so we actually sent a letter to all of our customers at the end of last year. And we're very upfront in terms of, Hey, you know, this is the direction that we're headed. And this is why we made some changes in our product assortment, and we hope you'll make this journey with us. And one of the other things we continue to do, which I think you mentioned, too, is really enabling the front lines. So we actually responded to we continue to do this, we respond to every single social media comment, no matter how positive it is, no matter how negative it is. And I think even just doing something like that, that feels fairly tactical, it does make consumers feel like that. They're being hard.


Shiv Singh  

And whatever you do, just my two senses. Don't take an ad out to the wall street journal in which you say sorry. And then think the issues gone. I mean, it's bizarre, that's actually a pretty common thing to happen. You know, as the panelists so eloquently put it, solve the issue of the customer first, before you try to manage your reputation and Washington DC or all with the street or something else, you got to take care of the customers.


Russell Dubner  

One of the things that we look at when we measure trust is ability, dependability, integrity and purpose. And the greatest challenges come when there's a material breach of trust, around integrity. And so the other pieces are really important. But if the integrity has been breached in a way that your consumers and broader stakeholders feel like you are not a human organization, that you're not a living company or brand And that's when the really deep challenge comes. And oftentimes what we'll say to a client is you you can't explain your way out of something you behaved yourself into. And so the action that needs to be taken needs to be time bound actually address the issues that you're facing. And so sometimes these are the things that go bump in the night. And others, you can see the inevitable conflict. And the challenge for all of us is finding the courage to get in front of the inevitable, inevitable.


Evelyn Huang  

I want to emphasize this. So we're talking a lot about the front facing side of how to establish or regain trust with our customers. Think about cultivating culture, and how important that is the the analogy that I think of is an iceberg. So what's above the waterline is your your product, your customer experience, even your society impact. But what's under the water is as a company, your values, your beliefs, your attitudes. And we generally know that the mass that's under the water is bigger than what you see on top. And it's one iceberg. So you really have to cultivate a culture of integrity, of optimism, of approachability. Those are the things that will end up having the greatest impact on what your customers actually experience.


Russell Dubner  

So we just have a few more minutes. So in this battle for trust, whether it's as a attacker defender Endor with society, what would you leave this group with in terms of what they can think about and do from your experience? ship? Maybe you can start we can run down?


Shiv Singh  

Yeah, sure. So you know, we think about this every day at at yogo. And, and it's so so important, and I'm going to quote, Martin Jewish who's considered the father of modern day theory on trust, which is Always give more than you expect in return. That is a it's a very simple concept. But it's it's the most fundamental concept in the theory of trust. And whether you're an individual or whether you're a business, you know, you're working with your customers, you're acquiring them, you're nurturing them, you're forming lifetime relationships with them. Always think and whether it's from your sales team to your product, your customer care, can you give them more than they would expect? Because that's how you build that trusted relationship. And that's how they will be there for you. When you have that breakdown and trust, they will be your first line of defense. So give more than you expect in return.


Tuula Rytila  

So I would say the study is thought provoking, and clearly consumers expect us as brands to do more. So you are influential people with influential jobs. So do your share. And I think you know, for SS Microsoft, what we want to do is stay humble, and you know, do more and talk less.


Evelyn Huang  

I tied together this last point about cultivating culture with, at the very beginning, I had mentioned as a customer, I never want to be educated. So at sunrun, we have an internal mantra to be the guide. That's actually our job and our role. And again, I think that mindset shift will have a dramatic influence on how your people behave in your companies, and hence the experiences that your customers will have.


Becca Han  

I think for us, you know, transparency is just key. You know, given we we are a startup and we are very transparent with our customers in terms of sometimes we're still learning our way through that through it. And so we do really solicit that feedback. But I think the main pillar that we continue to underscore and behave and is our commitment. So maybe We're not not we're not necessarily fully where we want to be. But we're committed to making the strides where we can continue to progress.


Russell Dubner  

Great. Well, thank you. And thank you all for what you're going to do in your businesses to make sure that trust in brands and questions that people have about the future of capitalism and our obligation to lead. So thank you all very much, and thanks to the panel.


Natalie Novak  

Thank you so much Russell, Becca, Evelyn to let me shift the conversation around trust is in a very critical one, and we look forward to the next conversation. So we are going to be back we're going to be taking a quick 15 minute break and then the next session will start here at 1030. I will be hearing from Conde Nast and the NHL talk about the evolution of sports media. Stick around

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