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Finding Perspective in a Changing Industry

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Bryce Evans

Abraham Lincoln once said, “The truth is in the eye of the beholder.”

What? You don’t believe he said that? Well, I guess you could look it up if you wanted. I mean, who could believe the media these days anyway?

That was phrased rhetorically, but the truth is that not many people put a lot of trust in the news they read or watch. Here’s a stat for you from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism: Just 18 percent of Americans believe the media is free from undue business influence. That is to say, just 18 percent of Americans believe the media to be unbiased, objective and truthful—you know, the very characteristics that journalists swear to uphold.

And, no, I don’t bring this up in terms of any current events. This isn’t a political conversation—it’s a practical one. This isn’t even about media, necessarily, but rather: Whom can you trust, and why do you trust them?

You don’t need me to tell you that the automotive industry has a bit of perception problem. That’s why I make the journalism/media comparison. The two industries have a lot in common in this sense: Both have many great operations that do things the “right” way with integrity, professionalism and respect for the people they serve; then, even if they are outnumbered by the latter, there are far too many examples of operations that serve as posterchildren for those negative stereotypes.

So, how do you, as an upstanding business operator dedicated to earning your customer’s trust, rise above those cutting corners? How can you separate yourself from the perceptions that hold others back?

Those are the question our managing editor, Anna Zeck, posed to a number of industry professionals in our cover feature this month, “Branding Reputation.” The package of interviews and stories help to shed light on a pragmatic approach. You don’t earn a customer’s trust in an advertisement, or even one, single service experience. It takes time. It takes effort. It takes dedication from your entire team to do things the right way, to put integrity and fairness above all else, and to do it day in and day out with relentless persistence.

So, let’s change these perceptions together. And I promise not to use fake Abraham Lincoln quotes again.

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