As Edelman Amsterdam’s MD Brand, a number of clients have asked me for my reactions to Edelman’s recent special report ‘Trust, the New Brand Equity’ for our Dutch clients.

The report has exposed a world fraught with feelings of anxiety and fear over the Covid-19 pandemic’s lasting effects – including increased job loss and mental health issues, fear of a new outbreak just around the corner and an ever-widening inequality gap. When insecurity is the name of the game, trust is your new best friend as a marcomms leader.

Companies daring to take a stand and business leaders who respond with strong measures seize the opportunity to make their license to operate more tangible than ever. It increases their relevance and drives trust. Within society and their communities, from business partners to large groups of consumers who advocate for institutions to act more inclusively and to fight injustice.

2021 has been an extraordinary year, a time where both consumers as well as governments had to deal with multiple crises simultaneously and have been tested in the most pressing of ways. We have entered a unique era in which businesses are seen as the most trusted institutions. Still more than governments and scientists. Therefore, it is not surprising that their most important asset, brand trust over time now matters more than brand love - People’s Trust in a brand (88%) is more important than their love of a brand (81%) when deciding which brands to buy or use. Increasing sales to the max by seven times more consideration versus distrusted brands.

This is big news.  With many years working agency side and in-house for the likes of Y&R, Porter Novelli, Coca-Cola, Yacht, Kellogg’s and Mercedes-Benz and even the ARTIS Royal Zoo – brand ‘love’ was an essential part of my vocabulary even in The Netherlands.  

So, when the latest findings show that brands are not only built on ability and competence, but also the emotional impact of TRUST to the consumer – the potential commercial impact of getting this wrong - particularly for Dutch brands is clear. Trust drives growth is the new adagio, it will not take long before the Net Promotor Score (NPS) is overtaken by a Net Trust Score (NTS). Indeed, the Netherlands 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer released at the start of the year showed 57% of Dutch people say they believed the crisis will deepen inequity with economic and health benefits distributed unequally across society – so companies and organizations in The Netherlands must take these findings very seriously as they return from the long summer holidays and start to plan ahead. After summer of love and enjoying connecting with family and friends again, the autumn will be a time to start earning trust like never before.

But why can'? Desire and love can only flourish with trust as a pre-condition, just as it works in real life.