20 out 30 or worse on trust

help your customers trust you

The beginning of a new year is as good a reason as any to take a look at some of the marketing trends gaining traction. This is the fourth of ten THOUGHTS addressing significant trends that will be important to marketers in 2019. Some have been around for a while, others are new.

Each of these trends reflects the evolving nature of consumers, the growth of smarter and smarter technology, and the increasing complexity of the markets in which we operate.

Every year, consumers are asked how much they trust 30 plus professions. In the last survey, business executives rated # 20, stockbrokers rated #26, real estate agents rated #28, advertising people rated #29 and car salesmen rated #30. Many consumers from a wide demographic do not trust business people.

Trust in company CEOs has declined to 37%.

The fact is, trust in business is in freefall. The recent banking royal commission has not helped. Many banks, some superannuation funds and several insurance companies have demonstrated that they cannot be trusted.

This may well be the biggest marketing issue for business, particularly those in the financial sector, worldwide and in Australia. A brand is only as good as the trust that potential purchasers and other stakeholders put in it – and right now it seems they are trusting less than ever.

This represents a problem for many businesses, but a real opportunity for smart business. There is a very real opportunity for smart, ethical organisations to start developing trust as a strategic competitive advantage.

In doing so, however, developing a set of values that includes ‘integrity’ is not a great starting point. Many of the least trusted businesses in Australia have integrity as a core value – and in most cases, not only do people not believe they have integrity – but because integrity is on the list – they do not believe the other values either.

Avoid is publishing your values on your website or in your brochure. If you have to publish them, you are not living them, and if you are not living them, they are of no interest to consumers. Values are to be lived – not published in the hope that someone will believe they are real. Indeed, publication of your values erodes credibility.

Trust is built through behaviour with, perhaps, the most essential behaviour being transparency. Consumers want a business to be open, and trust is often a direct function of how open they are. Further, you cannot tell, people you are open and hope they will believe you. Most often, they will not. Indeed, you can say anything you like. Only your behaviour matters.


Stop thinking that you are well served by keeping your cards close to your chest. If you want to maximise sales, you have to maximise trust and to do so, you have to behave transparently and openly. You have to demonstrate that you are trustworthy.

The good news is that, if you demonstrate you are trustworthy, conversion rates, repeat business rates and referral rates will all increase.

Consumers want to trust, but right now they don’t.

Consumers will not accept you can be trusted because you tell them you can, either with your list of values or a direct statement. No one believes statements such as, “the trusted name in ….”

Do you? Of course not! We have all heard the line – ‘I am here from the government. I am here to help you!’

We all make judgements based on behaviour.


CMO, Entrepreneur, MTA, Forbes, The Drum, Brandwatch, Advertoscope, Wider Funnel, N Business, SUMO, HBR, Social Media Today and Aircall
MORE THOUGHTS – www.djohncarlsonesq.com 

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