People can vote for as many essays as they choose, but only get one vote per essay. Students are encouraged to share their essay with friends and family or on social media to generate more votes. Only votes from the scholarship website will be considered. Only one essay per state will be chosen to receive the $2,000 scholarship. 

Kiannah Joylinn Louie – Coeur d’Alene High School

In Companies We Trust – Or Do We?

In the current culture of “Instagram Brands,” Amazon, and pop-up shops, it seems that nowadays just about anyone can create their own company. The internet has made it possible for individuals to have their own brands and sell products online, almost entirely in the comfort of their homes. While this has created an amazing and unique opportunity for people to start businesses without too many financial resources or business connections, for the consumer it can now be difficult to find companies and brands of which they can place their trust in. After all, what exactly differentiates a start-up company to brands, such as Apple or Disney, which have been regarded as trustworthy for quite some time?

When researching the trustworthiness of a company, the first thing to look for is whether or not they have a clear and consistent brand message. It’s important for one to find and purchase from companies that have values which align or do not contradict with his/her own. Furthermore, does this company have a track record of sticking to their ideals? A company who advertises themselves as ethical, but has its labor outsourced to underpaid workers in developing countries is far less trustworthy than a company who may be doing the same thing yet never claims ethicalness. In terms of consistency, one company which comes to mind is Reformation, a vastly growing online clothing company, who prides itself on the sustainability of its clothing. This company has built a sort of cult following because of its concise and reliable brand vision.

Another aspect which is paramount to consider when choosing a brand to trust is quality. Do they pride themselves in using the best possible products for the health and safety of their customers? Or is this a company who likes to cut corners? Not only is a consistency key, but companies must be upheld to a high quality standard. A brand who uses unsafe or unhealthy components in their product tends to prioritize money and profit over the wellbeing of their customers. As a buyer, one must carefully consider where they are placing their money and trust in. Nobody wants to invest in a company who does not put the customers’ needs first.

Besides the two covered, there are many factors which equate to the trustworthiness of a brand. It is up to the customer to do their research on companies they are considering buying from. Look for a clear message, and make sure the company sticks to that message. Ultimately it is the consumer who has the power. If a brand has not proven itself worth one’s money and trust, look for ones that have proven worthy. Again, with an influx of new brands and companies from social media, it can be difficult to find brands to trust, but that also means there are so many more out there which can be trusted.

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