By Ann Krzmarzick, ABC

The server went down and a customer eblast scheduled for 8 a.m. Thursday was still not delivered as of Friday. Multiple emails later, we finally talked to a supervisor who said, “I’m sorry. We will do a better job of communicating in the future.”

After questioning him further, he revealed, “We have more customers than our current server can accommodate, and it couldn’t handle the traffic. We are doing everything in our power to expand our capabilities and prevent such problems from happening again.” Fortunately for the company in question, the supervisor had the innate sense that telling the truth would be best.

Our professional training and sense of how quickly news spreads tells us that authenticity and timeliness are imperative to engaging employees and building an organization’s brand. Trust has become the cornerstone to the success of businesses and us as business leaders.

According to the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer, trust is in crisis around the world. Ongoing globalization and technological change are eroding people’s trust in global institutions, which they believe have failed to protect them from the negative effects of these forces.

Consider the rising undercurrent of mistrust that Edelman has noted among mainstream institutions around the world… Government no longer is seen as providing guideposts… Media has lost its role as a watchdog on institutions… Non-governmental organizations are focused on the most vulnerable but are ineffective advocates for the middle class. And while the other three institutions continue to lose credibility, business is the most trusted institution and has the onus as well as the opportunity to prove that it is possible to act in the interest of shareholders and society alike.

So how can businesses build trust? Edelman prescribes that we consider all stakeholders before acting by deeply listening to them and strategically integrating those insights to help shape the future of our businesses and the lives of the people we serve.

Trust is a multi-faceted, robust concept that permeates our roles as business communicators. How do we ensure that we play a key role in building stakeholder trust? And how do we inspire the senior leaders in our companies to embrace attributes such as authentic and timely communications, ethical business practices, and community relations in order to build trust?

Join us at IABC Minnesota’s 2018 Convergence Summit, where we will address the important topic of trust, along with other vital and leading-edge topics driving our profession.

Keynote presentations include:

Register now!
Do you still have money available in your 2017 budget? Save $75 when you register by Dec. 31. Early bird pricing is $225 for members and University of Minnesota faculty, staff and students, $275 for nonmembers.

Find more information and register online at

Ann Krzmarzick, ABC, is a past president of IABC Minnesota and the chair of the third annual Convergence Summit to be held March 23, 2018.