What makes you feel at home with a brand, or with a person for that matter? What inspires your loyalty, sparks your passion, or motivates your purchasing patterns?

There are a thousand different ways to answer these questions, but I would argue for trust and transparency as the key pieces of the puzzle. This week on Hello Frances, I turned the tables on Shantelle and interviewed her. We spoke all about the role of trust and transparency in communications and in everyday life. The world is still reeling from the events of 2020, and consumers desire consistency more than ever before. Edelman, one of our favorite voices in the communications industry, put it this way: “The battle for trust is actually the battle for truth…If brands deliver on the promise of advocacy and action, then they’ll be rewarded with deeper, more resilient relationships with the consumer.”

So how do we win the battle for truth, for trust? Here are some highlights from our conversation:

FAMILY first

Shantelle has always lived by this core value, and it naturally spills over from her nuclear family into the FRA team and client family.  “You trust family; you tell family the truth,” she says. I experienced this firsthand during my internship over the summer – the open, honest, and sharpening conversations that make a team thrive come from valuing trust.

It’s ALL on the table

Transparency is always heralded in times of crisis – “tell the truth and tell it fast.” That said, transparency is so much more. Transparency means going the extra mile to create confidence in your clients and team members. It’s asking questions and pushing for clarity – not just doing the bare minimum, but “lending your agility” as Shantelle put it. Give yourself fully to the work at hand and the people around you, and your openness will pay dividends.

PIECE by piece

Other people call out character traits of trustworthiness and transparency in us more than we manufacture them on our own. While we can’t snap our fingers and get LinkedIn endorsements for “trustworthiness” (all my fellow Gen-Z job-seekers just cried a little), we can take small steps to build those soft skills. It’s the little things like completing projects on time, being reliable and flexible. Shantelle reminded us that trust is built and broken in small pieces. So, envision trust-building as less of a character overhaul and more as a daily commitment.  

Meredith Freeman is a senior majoring in Public Relations at Florida State University – and she’s graduating in April! Meredith interned with us last summer and loves the FRA family. She is passionate about writing, meeting new people, and helping people find their passions in life and thrive in them.

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