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Davos 2018: The Evolution of Consumer Trust

Bain's Jean-Claude Ramirez discusses how the concept of trust has changed in the digital age.


Davos 2018: The Evolution of Consumer Trust

Bain Partner Jean-Claude Ramirez discusses the meaning of trust in business, how the concept has changed in the digital age and what companies can do to regain consumer trust that may have eroded over the years.

More from Bain at Davos 2018 >

Read the transcript below.


JEAN-CLAUDE RAMIREZ: What surprised me the most being on the World Economic Forum is that trust in traditional corporations and brands is at an all-time low. So I think that's interesting because it starts to make you think about what's the meaning of trust, you know, what are the elements of trust, especially in how they have evolved in business over the decades.

What inspired me the most is the fact that people are claiming now that the traditional corporations were not designed for trust in the digital age. Traditionally, in the past, trust used to flow vertically, just mimicking the structures of power, you know, and control. And today, trust is actually distributed.

So an example, a very simple example is Airbnb, right? What we're trusting with Airbnb is the connection between strangers, right? We're trusting the fact that we can stay at a stranger's home, and that everything is going to work out.

I think the big insight, especially when it comes down to, you know, what do companies need to do to regain the trust, you know, that has eroded over the years is to focus on the why they do things. The transparency about, you know, what they do is not sufficient because in fact technology is empowering customers to figure out, you know, what they do. I think the holy grail of building trust is really aligning, you know, your interests with those of your client. You know, and that goes into the issue of the why, you know, why you're doing this.


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