The purpose of this Master’s Thesis is to explore the topic of brand trust, and the effect trust has on the bottom line of brands. The paper points out how brands need to go from merely being trusted to being worthy of the trust extended to them by their consumers, and what brands can do to achieve that. The paper argues that brands need to make defined core values their orientation for their actions, and highlights the importance of brands being able to deliver on their promises, having altruistic motives, and wanting what is in the best interest of their consumers, while acting on their beliefs. The exploration of brand trust centers on the specialty coffee company, The Coffee Collective, which owns three coffee shops in Copenhagen. The aim is to find out how The Coffee Collective can increase brand trust and thereby create more long-term customer relationships as they grow. In order to assess brand trust of The Coffee Collective, the Brand Trust Diagram and VCI Alignment Model are used to evaluate the brand based on 12 semi-structured interviews and a questionnaire with 218 completes. Overall, The Coffee Collective has a strong corporate brand, and their guests trust them to a very high degree. However, it is discovered that baristas generally do not feel that their craft is being honored, and compared to the emphasis the leadership puts on what they call the cornerstone of the company, namely Direct Trade, it is far from universally known by their guests. This is considered to be due to the company being in a state of authenticity paralysis. According to primary data collected, as coffee companies grow, consumers trust them less. This issue is essential to address as The Coffee Collective is currently experiencing immense growth. It is concluded that it is possible for The Coffee Collective to implement three things that will increase competence, intention and authenticity, and the perception of them, while at the same time aligning the brand through the VCI Alignment model. It is suggested that they 1) create, and brand, a leadership academy for the baristas to increase long-term skills while making the skills measurable for their guests, 2) publish a magazine that focuses on the specialty coffee industry rather on themselves, and 3) act like a movement and invite their guests on the jouney with them, helping their guests to make difference. The Coffee Collective is considered to be a part of a wave of companies acting on the personal values of the founders like TOMS Shoes, Ben & Jerry’s and Patagonia, and inspiring their customers to make the world a better place together with them. Ultimately, consumers pay attention when brands stop solely talking about themselves and begin glorifying a “higher purpose,” and inspire the people they reach to make a difference and become part of a movement.
|Uddannelser||Cand.merc.smc Strategic Market Creation, (Kandidatuddannelse) Afsluttende afhandling|