WolffOlins Blog: What price credibility?

by raymanookian

What price credibility?


Questions, questions.

Armed or unarmed? Publish photos or don’t publish? Extra judicial execution or justifed act of ‘national self defence’? How much evidence do we need to see before we stop doubting?

This week we have seen – very starkly – just how important credibility is, and how very hard it is to regain it once it is lost. That we doubt is the only thing beyond doubt.

Put simply: we don’t believe everything we are told. In business, as consumers, in global terrorism, in politics. And the more the story gets altered the less we believe. Saying something is true really does not make it true.

“we really are trying to lend to small business”

“none of us knew about the phone hacking”

“we are beyond petroleum”

Trust is born out of credibility and capability. If I believe your intent, and I believe you have the capability to deliver on that intent then I will trust you. Capability without credibility is worthless.

The straight down the line school of strategy says that most business growth is about leveraging capability. I’m pretty sure that’s wrong now. Brands like Apple, Tata, Tesco, Google, Virgin all show that if you can build a bond of trust, if you can build credibility with customers you can enter almost any category you like – whether you have the capability or not. If Apple made a refrigerator tomorrow it would be a hit.

You can buy or build capability. And smart businesses the world over are beginning to hook up with others in order to collaborate, in order to access capability they don’t have.

But you can’t buy credibility at any price. And you certainly can’t kill for it.

(Nick Keppel-Palmer)