Hi there…

March 11, 2010

…Well, the semester was over and the great news (besides another semester being completed) is that this project was well worth it. I learned a lot in the process and I admit, I have felt a bit of guilt for neglecting my blog this much.  Not the way to build trust amidst the little readership I had, right?

With a new semester (and my last one in grad school, finally), I am busy with another project, with work and the rest of life I am still trying to manage. So I won’t promise I will be here any more often… but I have certainly not forgotten. After school, and probably after the Summer (hey, the girl needs a break too!)… I will be back. And hopefully with more than an excuse to blog about…

‘‘Til next time. Tchau!


As with our needs described in Maslow’s hierarchy, our trust levels ladder up to foster an ultimate sense of being.

The fifth and final level in this analysis reflects our need to realize our maximum potential once all other lower levels needs have been satisfied. This so-called “self-actualization” motivation becomes the ulterior motive behind all our actions and our reason for living – which is, for some, the greater good.

Trust, in this case, is manifested in the confidence people exude through their accomplishments and the respectable role they play in society – from teaching literacy to poor children every day to wining a once in a lifetime Nobel Prize.  This self-confidence, in turn, came from people also trusting them to act on behalf of others, and not only of themselves.

In the digital world, self-actualization is actually the reason why sites like Wikipedia are so successful and hugely popular. How else would an encyclopedia be created with information from the users themselves?

One has to believe that (most) people editing Wikipedia pages are doing so because they feel the need to share the knowledge and have the best intentions to provide the most accurate information available to them. And when that does not happen, there are other people that believe in and trust the integrity of the medium to step in and correct the information.

Many other technology platforms also rely strictly on peer collaboration. Often, they work remotely, rarely meeting in the “real world,” to create new software programs, solve bugs and even break codes if national security is at risk.

One may also view the posting of customer reviews online as another act of self-actualization with the interest of helping others to either benefit from the same experience they’ve had or prevent others from experiencing something unpleasant.

Bloggers, in the same way, look to express views that will be useful to readers, from informational to entertainment content. In most cases, only when this loop is complete and readers come back for more, the full realization of the blogger’s work is truly fulfilled.

These apparent selfless motives and actions are what ultimately illicit trust into others to believe the information online and use it to make their own decisions. And when these actions mean something greater, it becomes better for the publisher and the viewer.

  • Read about all other trust levels starting here

‘Til next time. Tchau!


Trust in a Creative’s mind?

November 30, 2009

To round up the few postings over the last months on trust in advertising, I spoke to Steven Capp, Chief Creative Officer at the ad agency Unit 7, about his opinions on this “trusty” subject.

Steven Capp is an award-winning writer who has 20 years of experience building brands and finding innovative ways to connect with consumers. Not surprisingly, he had plenty to say about trust:

Raquel: What is the role of trust in advertising? (in your opinion as a creative)

Steve: Trust is the reason consumers engage with a brand. Whether it’s a trust for a lower price, a better quality or that the product was produced in an environmentally-friendly way, trust takes a brand from transaction to relationship.

Raquel: Has this role changed over time?

Steve: Trust has always been a reason to engage, but with trust levels at all-time lows, companies need to be aggressive rather than passive in the building and maintaining of trust. With the advent of the web, trust has also become more fragile and vulnerable to corporate missteps. On the other hand, the web also presents unprecedented opportunity to build and maintain trust.

Raquel: Why should brands/companies focus on trust? Why would they not?

Steve: When consumers trust a brand, it shows that brand is listening to the consumer’s needs. That helps build a relationship with consumers. It creates a positive experience that can spread like wild fire in the online space. Good for business. On the other hand, if companies don’t focusing on building/maintaining trust, that could create negative perceptions which could also find it’s way on the web and create a PR nightmare.

Companies may not see a need for building trust relationships because of ignorance as to how consumers are engaging. They may underestimate the role trust plays, or they may equate marketing dollars spent with a positive brand image.

Raquel: Is there a particular ad campaign out there now, or in the past, that illustrates your view of the impact of trust in advertising? How so?

Steve: Hyundai is a good example of building/restoring trust in a brand. With people losing their jobs, Hyundai came out with a campaign that offered to take the car back if people lost their job. It showed that Hyundai understood what was being discussed around kitchen tables across America. It made people feel good about the brand and trust that Hyundai has their best interest in mind. I know a finance Manager who worked for Hyundai at the time and he said the cars were flying out of the showroom.

Lee Iacoca also did it many years ago when Chrysler was on the verge of going bankrupt.  He claimed they were now building the best built cars in America and challenged the American people to drive everything else first. It was a very powerful message that restored trust in the Chrysler brand.

Thanks to Steven for taking the time to answer these few questions and for his great insight. This sure does make a point about the role of trust in advertising and how it should not be ignored, specially not now, not online.

‘Till next time. Tchau!

Let’s try an in-blog experiment. Take this trust poll and share it with others – and let’s see what you all have to say.

‘Till next time. Tchau!

Trust by Experience

November 14, 2009

As more consumers rely on recommendations and online reviews to decide what to buy, marketers need to focus on delivering an experience just as much as on building an image.

In a new report published by FEED, 65% of U.S. consumers said “a digital experience has changed their perception about a brand (either positively or negatively) and 97% of that group report(ed) that the same experience ultimately influenced whether or not they went on to pGood online experienceurchase a product from that brand.”

Experience matters and only companies who deliver a good one will gain loyalty.

Online, companies have a direct line to build trust with buyers through better customer experiences. And because of the immediacy of the channel, this experience has to be intuitive. People need to find what they want where they expect it to be, and fast. It should predict questions and provide answers, or a way to chat for more. Recommendations need to be relevant, but not so dead-on that it becomes creepy. It should be easy to share, to tweet and to print. They want to be in the know, gain knowledge, get exclusive access and privileges, but it can’t be too cumbersome. Most of all, they want to be entertained. Make it fun. Boring does not last long in the small screen.

Whether a company was born online or is slowly transitioning in, it should create a digital experience that supports its brand promise. Living up to that promise when a visitor is actually engaging with the brand is now the ultimate trust test. Don’t deliver, and customers will seek somewhere else.

Just think about how many times you went on a “second date” with a company if the first one did not go so well. Not likely.

‘Till next time. Tchau!

Rate it!

November 11, 2009

No other company is more responsible for making online customer reviews ubiquitous than Amazon.com

Amazon's Wolves T-shirtOver 15 years ago, they took the risk and actually invited customer feedback instead of filing it under annoying customer replies. And guess what? It paid out to trust customers to help each other to shop easier, better and… more often.

Read about the online shopping revolution it started…

…and can you really believe a T-shirt emblazoned with three wolves could ever be such a hit? ‘Til today? No joke…

‘Till next time. Tchau!

RespectThere are actually two types of esteem needs all humans have, according to Maslow’s theory – a lower one, seeking the respect of others and a higher one, seeking self-respect.

I think of the need to feel recognized and respected by others as a compliment to the social need we reviewed earlier last month. We relate to others because we also care about them needing us, trusting us.

Professional networking sites, such as LinkedIn, provide a convenient platform for people to showcase their expertise in a field, connect with peers and even seek new employment opportunities online. But it is by posting recommendations people show the respect for each others’ work ever publicly.

In turn, being accepted and valued by others can help one boost his/her own higher need for self-respect. But beyond recognition by others, self-esteem also requires inner-confidence and self-acceptance. And experience can help with that. Take blogging for example.

Generally, one has to be somewhat confident in their expertise or ability to convey their views to others to even start a blog on a particular topic (unless it is a required class assignment ☺). But as others start to follow posts, trusting the blogger with their time and respecting what they have to say, this external confidence (and even the potential for fame) can do wonders to boost the blogger’s self-esteem – motivating them to be better, more entertaining, to become even more valued.

This need for esteem is also partly why we trust the recommendations of others who have reviewed a product they purchased or tested. As we’re bombarded with so many options at our fingertips, it’s certainly comforting to scroll down to a few reviews of people that can relay, first hand, their real experiences with a product and help narrow down the choices. And they often do help.

Even without knowing reviewers personally, their self-professed expertise is usually enough reason for you to trust them. So you can rate just how helpful they were, respectfully returning the favor with your appreciation…  The saying “what goes around, comes around” comes to mind…

‘Till next time. Tchau!