Trusted brands

This is a summary of Union Square Venture's thesis for investing in companies:

USV backs trusted brands that broaden access to knowledge, capital, and well-being by leveraging networks, platforms, and protocols.

Trust has never been more of a competitive advantage. That's one thing investors and marketers/advertisers agree on. We know how marketers/advertisers think about trust and the solution to build trust usually include a pretty big media budget. But why and how do you build trust according to the investors?

The goal of these businesses is to build trusted brands—products and services that not only serve a purpose, but integrate into the hearts and minds of their customer in a way that is durable and important. Trust comes from true alignment and convincing the customer that their values and priorities are shared. The bar for this is higher than ever but the best businesses will continually meet it.

Long-term alignment of values. Integration in the hearts and minds of people. In a way that is durable and important. Shared priorities. I think a lot of that is NOT a communications problem. Communications might be the tip of the iceberg. I think a lot of that is an acting challenge. You need to prove yourselves through your actions over a long period of time (read: more than a quarter / more than a 4-week media flight).

So when you think about building trusted brands, think about what you'll do first, and how you'll communicate it second. Not the other way around. Because the most successful investors are currently betting on companies that are committed to building trust the right way. Truly trusted brands will be the standard 5-10 years from now. How you do measure against that?