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THE BOTTOM LINE
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The O.C. Trust Summit

Invest one lunch hour with us, and we may change the way you run your business and, ultimately, your bottom line.

by steve churmPublished: June 01, 2011

Do something once, and it’s novel. Do it twice, and it can become habit-forming. That’s precisely why we can’t wait until June 9, when OC METRO and the Values Institute at DGWB host the second annual O.C. Trust Summit. We want to see if our exploration of trust is a curiosity shared by a growing community of Orange County business leaders, civic leaders and consumers. We’re not the first, nor the only ones in this county, peeling back the layers on the topic of trust and, by extension, ethics, honesty and corporate behavior. But what we attempted a year ago was to look at trust not from an individual perspective, but from a brand perspective. We wanted to identify the Most Trustworthy Brands in Orange County. In a groundbreaking online survey, O.C. consumers named 10 brands that embodied a blend of potent qualities that moved the needle to “most trusted.”
   
Encouraged by the findings and the feedback, we asked Orange County again this year for a list of brands they trust above all others. The result is the Trusted 16 for 2011. More than 2,000 respondents named these companies in a five-month survey conducted online. Unlike other “best of” lists that we publish annually in OC METRO, our staff did not pick the Trusted 16. You did. And in this special issue, and again on June 9, we will introduce them.
   
But we’ll go further at the second O.C. Trust Summit. We’ll explain why they emerged from a crowded field of well-known brands to earn the title of “most trusted.” The Trust Summit brings together brands with similar cultural and operational DNA to compare and contrast how they go about growing their market share and expanding their bottom lines, all the while behaving more nobly than their competitors.
   
These brands are not perfect. And there are others not on the list that have deep followings and reputations that rival the best in class. But these 16 brands, at least for the moment, are delivering their products and services in such a way that the public recognizes a palatable difference. Whether it’s the ability to perform at a high level or care about its customers or the consistency of its business model, these companies strike a cord with consumers on that all-important note: trust. Emerging from the most difficult economy in many of our lifetimes, we hunger to connect and support brands that are grounded in values and positive behavior, rather than just price and convenience.
   
The 2011 O.C. Trust Summit goes a step further this year. We listened and heard that many in the audience last year wanted to hear from the brands themselves. So this year we have added a Trust Lab to discuss why five of the Trusted 16 are repeat honorees from 2010. We’ve also asked an international voice on the subject of brand performance and quality, Finbarr O’Neill, president of J.D. Power & Associates, to speak about trust and the bottom line. Forgive the pitch, but when you consider the rare opportunity to listen to Orange County businesses share their stories of building and sustaining trust, along with thoughts from a pre-eminent figure on corporate excellence and product delivery, I submit that the 2011 O.C. Trust Summit at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel will be the most important investment of your lunch hour that you’ll make this year. Trust me, I’m that confident you will agree.
   
Consider this a personal invitation to buy a seat or bring a colleague. Round up the whole department or office and buy a table for this once-a-year business gathering. Join me by going to ocmetro.com/mosttrustworthybrandsevent. We need more people on the trust bandwagon. This is your chance to climb aboard. schurm@churmmedia.com