Vision is a key driver of trust. It provides customers of a Company with the reassurance that both they and the brand are walking along the same path, and heading in the same direction. Vision isn’t a statement of corporate objectives, it is more about the principles and ethos of a Company. The things it is committed to, and what it believes in.
The classic Company visionary was Steve Jobs. He was equally committed to delivering products that were great to use and also beautifully designed. Design was and is a central tenet of Apple’s operations. The look and feel of the product is equally as important as the functionality. People who buy Apple products fondle them and feel them. They feel a smug satisfaction that they own an exquisite work of art, not just a phone or a laptop.
Compare Apple with Microsoft, and Steve Jobs with Steve Balmer. Balmer, the ex-CEO of Microsoft was a cheer leader, exhorting employees to deliver targets and telling customers about new versions of existing products. Microsoft was a company which was progressing, but worryingly it was failing to deliver a clear vision for the future. All this changed with the appointment of Satya Nadella earlier this year. From day one as CEO he spelled out a clear direction and vision for the future for Microsoft. A new vision of an integrated, networked, cloud-based future, not just a new version of some existing software. Employees, customers and shareholders all bought in to the new vision, and confidence and trust in the brand was strengthened. The share price of Microsoft has increased from $35 before Nadella took over to a recent high of almost $50. Revenues have increased, especially for the new cloud-based products, as per Nadella’s vision.
Vision is the least understood and hardest driver of trust to articulate and communicate. But if you do it well, your customers trust the Company more and become advocates who recommend the brand.
What does your Company believe in?
What are your Company’s ‘non-negotiables’ when it comes to developing products and delivering customer satisfaction?
Are you sure that the direction you are heading in is where your customers want to go?
Do your employees know where the Company is going and trust you to take them there?