Before embarking on any consumer-related initiative, consumer goods (CG) companies must ask themselves: “Will this build or damage trust?”

As I noted in my 2015 outlook column for Consumer Goods Technology magazine, recent infractions from CG companies have created a trust crisis with consumers. Over-spamming, ignoring complaints, and data breaches have strained the relationships between CG companies and consumers, and it couldn’t have come at a worse time.

To help CG companies embark on new technology initiatives but still maintain trust with consumers, Capgemini supported The Consumer Goods Forum in creating industry-wide principles designed to promote an environment of trust and proactive consumer communication. Here’s a quick look at the seven principles:

1.       Simple Communications
2.       Value Exchange
3.       Transparency
4.       Control and Access
5.       Ongoing Dialogue
6.       Protection of Personal Information
7.       Integrity in Social Media

For example, “control and access” refers to our belief that CG companies should enable consumers to easily choose whether and how their personal information is used; and to have access to information on how their personal information is used, and the ability to correct it and/or have it removed. For a more detailed explanation of each principle, click here.

As more CG companies embark on digital transformation initiatives to better serve consumers, it’s critical that these seven principles become ingrained in the planning process. As my colleague Ted Levine said in a recent interview with, “Instead of one-off experiences, the new rules of customer engagement call for an ongoing, meaningful dialogue between brands and their consumers to foster trust and build long-term loyalty.”

Brian Girouard is a Vice President in Capgemini’s Consumer Products, Retail and Distribution Sector.