Impact Insights Blog

Why ‘ROT’ is the Acronym Every Business Leader Should Know

October 6, 2023

Filomena FanelliThe language of business is full of acronyms: COB, PTO, EOW, ETA and, what seems to be the darling of every C-suite executive, ROI. For good reason, I’d add.

It’s essential that we talk about return on investment because we’re all in business to be profitable and without that, we’d cease to exist. However, when it comes to public relations, there’s another three-letter acronym leaders ought to get just as cozy with: ROT.

ROT stands for return on trust and it’s the most undervalued determinant of success in the business equation. When you first hear the term ROT, spoiled fruit or something that’s past its prime might come to mind. That’s fantastic because conjuring up this type of image drives home the exact point I’d like you to understand.

When not continually and intentionally nurtured, your brand will slowly begin to rot. On the flip side, if consistent attention is given to building awareness, sharing good news and accomplishments, and being the authority on your topic of expertise, your brand will do the right kind of “ROTting” – it will get a solid return on trust and will ripen in a way that is fruitful.

Below are a few of the main benefits that can be gained by building trust. A company with accumulated trust:

is likely to get more inbound calls, meaning less dollars spent trying to attract new business.

closes deals quickly. The prospective client or customer feels connected to the brand and has that sense of “know, like, trust” that gives them confidence to rapidly make decisions and purchases, shortening the sales cycle. In fact, a survey by Ipsos revealed that consumers who trust a company are more likely to believe and act on that company’s ads, even if they had to pay more to do so. Similarly, Edelman’s 2020 Trust Barometer Special Report found that 70% of respondents would buy from a brand they trust, even if it cost more!

gets more repeat business because they are forever on the radar. They don’t drop off and become forgotten, leaving an opportunity for someone else to swoop in and take market share away.

can weather a reputation storm. Think of the famous case of Tylenol and how it bounced back after a recall because Johnson & Johnson didn’t shy away from communicating, before, during and after. Should negative chatter hit the Nextdoor app, Facebook or another social media site, or make news headlines, the brand with lots of reputational equity rebounds faster and often has others coming to its defense, which is far better the company speaking for itself. The same Edelman survey I mentioned above revealed that customers who trust a brand are more likely to stand up for it publicly.

can differentiate itself from others in its space because it is regularly communicating what sets it apart with key audiences.

has better website metrics/SEO and Google rankings to show for it. There’s benefit at being top of the search category!

can grow its social media pages and increase customer interactions and loyalty.

is more frequently featured in, and quoted in, news media, boosting reputation and repeating the cycle.

attracts top talent and is likely to have improved retention rates. In a tight labor market, being a place people want to work at is critical!

An ongoing public relations and communications plan with a steady approach to building trust is the best way to achieve all of the above and more. That’s an effort you can truly cash in on. It’s also one that pays great dividends and compounds over time.