May 19, 2011 7:01:31 AM
Who Do You Trust?

“Trust is the foundation of total quality, and trust is made up of both character (what a person is) and competence (what a person does).”
-Stephen Covey, Author, 7 Habits of Highly Successful People

"Everyone is probably equally sucky, some (network security) may be better than others.”
-Bruce Schneier, BT, Chief Security Officer

As a parent, the Sony PlayStation Network being down for a month was painful to my son, as he could not shoot zombies with his friends over said network.

As a marketing professional, I’m reminded of just how fragile a brand can be. Brand strength is, first and foremost, about trust. Toyota learned this last year when it was charged with quickly restoring its reputation of having safe, reliable cars after experiencing issues with brakes in some of their models.

So now Sony is faced with a similar challenge – restoring consumer trust and with it, their image.

Yesterday Sony’s CEO, Howard Stringer, explained that he cannot guarantee the security of the network in a "bad new world" of cybercrime.

Whoa.

While this is not the “warm and fuzzy” moment that might inspire my consumer confidence, it is the truth. What do I expect, as a consumer? I expect you to do your best, deliver a quality product/solution, and most importantly tell me the truth.

As a marketer, I realize that Sony has a steep hill to climb. What was once the world’s strongest brand is far from that today. But adversity does not have to create long-lasting damage. You’d be hard pressed to find a security breach more severe than Tylenol’s tampering scandal on its factory floors in 1982. Now, we study Tylenol in marketing courses to learn what to do in the face of crises. Take action, be honest with the public, and take the necessary steps to avoid future crises.

As a business leader who has been protecting brands for more than twenty years, I would encourage each and every organization to take a look at your security from a business risk perspective. In the security world, we hear a lot about risk of data leakage, proprietary and customer data. These are all critical components that need protecting. But let’s not forget what also needs protection – your brand, and the trust you have developed in the marketplace.

So whether you turn to CSS, who can help mitigate risks and make your environment as safe as possible, I encourage you to take security seriously and turn to someone you can trust to make your environment safer.

As a brand leader, you never want to hear “Not you.” When asking “Who do you trust?”