O2 chief: Rise of digital calls for greater brand honesty

O2 CEO Ronan Dunne has outlined the importance of large corporations building consumer trust in a new digital age where brand reputation is becoming increasingly vulnerable.

Speaking at Ethical Corporation’s Responsible Business Summit in London this week, Dunne said that there was a lack of confidence around the rapid rise of digital platforms and that this had the potential to impact negatively upon business.

“This has the potential to erode trust in the very services that will help to propel digital Britain forward,” he told delegates.

“Confidence and trust really matter in a digital society,” he maintained.

“They will accelerate our progress and create an environment where technology is available to all and everyone is empowered to innovate.”

Dunne said it was critical that companies operated to more transparent levels. “Openness is the key to building and sustaining trust – being honest about what we know, and what we don’t. And about the mutual benefits – what’s in it for customers, and what’s in it for the business.”

He added that every employee had a role to play at O2 and achieving this level of buy-in was ambitious but necessary.

“It’s essential to deliver on values at every touch point. Bringing colleagues on board is essential – they live, breathe and communicate the culture of the organisation. Reflecting the brand and engaging with customers. They help us build trust.”

Building trust, he added, was about “the things you do, and the things you start doing and stop doing. It’s built on millions of acts and deeds that you do every day, and that starts with the way you do business”.

Dunne highlighted three key areas where companies needed to grow their skills and confidence – digital capability, digital literacy and digital transparency.

“Confidence in all three areas can be achieved by embracing a new digital behaviour,” he told delegates.

For O2, Dunne pointed to the opportunities around 4G to act as a catalyst for that significant behavioural shift.

Maxine Perella

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