In an article from Business Week titled “The Great Trust Offensive” the article says: “Companies as diverse as McDonald’s, Ford, and American Express are revamping their marketing to win back that most valuable of corporate assets” The asset they are referring to is consumer trust.
Prior to this article appearing Chris Brogan released his new book “Trust Agents” which made The New York Times list of best sellers. Chris is currently promoting his new book doing presentations throughout the country.
So it seems that all of a sudden we the people and they the brands had an epiphany and realized that human interaction and building relationships are driven by trust. Why all of a sudden did we wake up to this epiphany? Lets look at the definition of epiphany: a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.
The commonplace occurrence or experience is people interacting with people, sharing, referring and engaging with other people and things they trust. I am not the smartest guy in the world but I think this commonplace occurrence or experience has been happening since we first walked the earth. Now with so much interaction and transparency online why does the issue of trust seem to becoming more apparent and important?
Recycled Old Wisdom
Trust is a relationship of reliance. A trusted party is presumed to seek to fulfill obligations, words of intent, a code of conduct based on relationship principals and their previous promises.
Trust is a prediction of reliance on an action, based on what a party knows about the other party. Trust is a statement of intent followed through with actions, behaviors and words that reinforce the trustworthiness of someone or an organization. The creation and destruction of trust has been evident throughout the history of mankind. The wisdom of trust has and continues to be evident by the behavior and experience people have with others.
It is kind of ironic that the Business Week article says McDonald’s, Ford, and American Express are revamping their marketing to win back that most valuable of corporate assets. Marketing can indeed send a message that draws attention to why consumers should trust a brand. However,as the article also indicates, it is the behavior and experience of a brand or a person that instills trust over time. Notice emphasis on “instills trust over time“. Trust does not get created simply from marketing messages.
In The Relationship Economy all of our online and off line activity reflects whether our behavior and the experiences we create for people are worthy of their trust. Trustworthiness is built based on the value of knowledge we share and the experiences we create for and with people. Pushing out spam messages, bad experiences with brands and people does not reflect or instill trustworthiness. Today the explosion of online conversations threaded throughout the gushing rivers of social media heightens the issue of trust and make it more and more transparent than ever before. In the past if you didn’t trust someone or an organization your sentiment was shared with a few. Today it is shared with many at the click of a mouse.
Can You Market Trust?
When someone tries to sell you trust usually that means “keeps your eyes wide open”. Trust isn’t for sale rather it has been and always will be something earned. Once earned it creates a natural draw because others will reference the person or the experience based on the value they received from the trust they placed in them. We call it convertising.
The best way to market trust is simply to be trustworthy. Get it?
What say you?