A trusted international research firm in the business realm recently suggested a fundamental re-set has occurred, which they refer to as the “age of the customer.” Intriguing, I thought. I should read on.

The authors presented their premise that the balance of power between businesses and their customers had forever shifted in favor of customers and their needs. Not exactly newsworthy, but I continued.

I knew that digital and all its manifestations has dramatically impacted businesses in terms of assessing their customer journeys and paths to purchase, resulting in an increased complexity that requires new focus and alignment to effectively drive business results.

I also knew that there was something intuitively missing in the piece – the age-old importance of building and sustaining trust. Trust is the connecting tissue between a brand promise and its fulfillment in a satisfied customer experience. Trust is where hopes (in terms of customers) and promises (in terms of brands) connect and result in business results.

Trust is essential. Based on integrity, it is a holistic value in the customer relationship informing a company’s marketing, operations, sales and service delivery.

Strategic America with Michael Sadler and Chris Coleman

Yesterday, Strategic America was honored to receive (for the second time) the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Ethics.


John and I were humbled, yet proud, to accept the honor on behalf of our SA team members and our clients. As we were invited to the podium for a few comments, I was reminded of a quote that I had recently read from Warren Buffett’s sage partner, Charlie Munger, who said, “There is a huge pleasure to be obtained in life from getting deserved trust. And the way to get that trust is to deliver what you would want to buy if the circumstances were reversed.” Sounds like the Golden Rule, I thought.

But trust is never something to be taken for granted. It exists because there are words and actions that align. There is respect, intuitive listening, and then collaboration that often leads to new, exciting dimensions of service. All are beliefs of SA and are culturally embedded in our service to clients. Not something we’ll ever trade for, but trade on.