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2014 Trust Summit Honors 'Most Trusted OC Brands'

August 20, 2014

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Cal State Fullerton alumnus and DGWB President Mike Weisman ’76 announced Orange County’s “Top 10 Most Trustworthy Brands” and “Most Trustworthy Leader” at the Aug. 19 event.

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Cal State Fullerton is one of Orange County's "Top 10 Most Trustworthy Brands" honored at the 2014 Trust Summit, which drew nearly 300 business and nonprofit leaders, marketing strategists, entrepreneurs and educators to Meng Concert Hall for the Aug. 19 event.

Themed "The Shape of Trust to Come," this year's program is the first to be jointly presented by the Values Institute at DGWB Advertising & Communications and the University's Center of Brand Values Communication and Research.

Based on a consumer survey of more than 200 brands based or operating in Orange County, the annual ranking is based on a proprietary methodology developed by the Values Institute and the Center for Brand Values Communication and Research, a program of the College of Communications. The methodology measures brand trust in terms of five core values — competency, concern, consistency, connection and candor.

President Mildred García welcomed the guests in a video message, and in her opening remarks, Irene Matz, interim  dean of the College of Communications, said: "Our goal is to connect the classroom to the boardroom, to ensure that undergraduate students and working professionals understand the value of trustworthy communication, and develop the skills and strategies to address consumer trust."

The partnership provides a diverse student population with a challenging learning environment that includes potential internships and exposure with companies who have been honored by the Trust Summit, Matz explained.

"Focusing on the relational aspect of developing trust will help our students gain an invaluable advantage in building both personal and professional relationships."

Matz also acknowledged Donny Crevier and the Crevier Family Foundation for their founding support of the center.

Cal State Fullerton alumnus and DGWB President Mike Weisman '76 announced the honorees and discussed the survey's findings that trust and values are more important now than they have ever been.

"Values are a true bridge that lead to trust. The most valuable corporate asset that you own is the trust that you build with your employees and your customers. It is the one asset that cannot be replicated by your competitors."

Following the event, Weisman explained the importance of his own involvement with the University and the partnership that created the center. "I've spent 40 years in marketing and advertising, and while the primary focus of my work has been in the boardroom, the idea that I could be a part of educating a new generation of leaders validates the work that I have been doing for so many years. To have this reach now through this partnership — from the boardroom to the classroom — is literally a dream come true that means everything to me."

Weisman is also a member of the Cal State Fullerton Philanthropic Foundation Board of Governors.

The Trust Summit also featured a keynote address by Rich Karlgaard, publisher of Forbes magazine, who shared his perspectives on how companies and individuals can find lasting success in a turbulent economy.

Also honored were: In-N-Out Burger Inc., CHOC Children's, Vans Inc., Automobile Club of Southern California, the Salvation Army Orange County, Knott's Berry Farm, Apple Inc., Costco Wholesale Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp. Also honored, as most trustworthy leader, was Wing Lam, co-founder of Wahoo's Fish Tacos. A complete list of the 30 nominees is available online.

Founded by Weisman in 2010, the Values Institute has charted the relationship between brands, trust and communication in dozens of organizations and created Orange County's Most Trustworthy Brands event, recognizing more than 40 brands.

Established in 2013, the University's Center for Brand Values Communication and Research is a partnership between the Values Institute and Cal State Fullerton's College of Communications. Center co-directors Mark Guohua Wu, CSUF associate professor of communications, and Patty C. Malone, associate professor of human communication studies, work with the Values Institute to connect theory, research and instruction through various research and outreach tools.

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