Building trust in new markets

Trust is won or lost through long term relationship building and, just like in any relationship, how much you put in has a direct correlation with how much you get out.


Every day, billions of people around the globe get up, get dressed and go to work. Why? For many it is a matter of survival. For those who are lucky, what they do for a living enriches them emotionally and psychologically – and is, perhaps, even fun. We might not like every aspect of what we do, but we do it. If we find that the negatives get to be too much, we are likely to look for another job.

What does that have to do with building trust in business, you might ask? A lot.

Our relationship with the companies that we buy products and services from, regulate, invest in, partner with, or work for share some common factors that are important for understanding and building trust in business generally – whether they are domestic favourites or new entrants from further afield. Trust is fundamental to a positive and strong reputation. Trust is won or lost both through long-term relationship building and in actions that occur in a heartbeat.

In this article we explore the notion of trust in business in general, and specifically with respect to cross-cultural business relationships: How do European companies looking to do business in China and Chinese companies looking to do business in Europe build relationships of trust with their stakeholders? What we find is that relationships with stakeholders are governed by many of the same rules as other interpersonal relationships. And like any relationship, how much you put in has a direct correlation with how much you get out.

Phil Riggins

Phil Riggins is the founder and chief executive officer of the Brand & Reputation Collective (the BRC). The BRC combines senior counsel, deep insight and creative thinking to help organisations navigate the inevitable choices and trade-offs required to manage stakeholder expectations, build trust and deliver their organisation’s strategy. Prior to creating the BRC, Phil worked at senior levels with the world’s leading communications agencies, including the Brunswick Group, Weber Shandwick, APCO Worldwide, and Leidar, advising clients on reputation, brand and issues management.

David Ashton

David Ashton leads Brunswick Insight in Asia, the research and insights division of the corporate communications consultancy. Based out of Hong Kong, David advises corporates across a range of crisis, mergers and acquisitions, capital markets, stakeholder engagement and reputation transformation mandates in China and the wider Asia region. Formerly he worked in political polling and research in the UK, advising politicians and media public opinion trends and helping corporates employ research in their campaigns.