The San Antonio Spurs are a great example of brand trust: T = r + d (Trust = reliability + delight).

For the last few decades, the Spurs have been defined by a culture of selfless work and a team-first mentality. This culture has developed a brand defined by one word, trust.

They deliver on their brand promise – selfless and team-first winning basketball – with an unshakeable reliability leading to an unmistakable trust that Spurs fans can have counted on for decades.

Kevin Arnovitz from ESPN wrote, “for more than 15 years, they’ve stayed true to their core philosophies even as they’ve innovated to remain competitive. For the Spurs, stability and serenity emerged as the organization’s defining qualities from the top down, so they were adopted as edicts in the team’s manifesto.”

This brand promise has been personified in people like Gregg Popovich, David Robinson, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli, Steve Kerr, Tony Parker, Burce Bowen, Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. Even their nicknames reflect their identity as a brand – “The Big Fundamental,” “Obi-Wan Ginobili,” and “The Admiral.”

Tim Duncan described it like this, “people choose to try to be bigger than the game, to make themselves an individual brand or whatever it may be, and luckily enough there are enough of those guys around the league. I choose not to.”

This is the definition of reliability. The anti-hype, anti-disruptive and anti-persona delivery of great team basketball flies in the face of today’s NBA. The Spurs are reliable, period.

Not only are they reliable, their success and connection to the community of San Antonio provides an authentic level of delight for their loyal fans. Look no further than theirchampionships in 1999, 2003, 2005, and 2007.

Spurs fans are avid supporters of the team, their players, the management and the coach. They are delighted and proud to call the Spurs their home team. The Spurs, both as a basketball team and a brand, represent the very definition of brand trust: T = r + d (Trust = reliability + delight).

If you want to deepen the trust your customers have in your brand, take a good hard look at the San Antonio Spurs.

For more, here’s another take on the Spurs written by Kevin Arnovitz from ESPN.