Cheers to Trust!

November 8, 2009

Blackstone Ad SloganHere’s another trust ad campaign example. Blackstone Wines launched new advertising based on the idea that consumers can trust Blackstone to provide fine wine at reasonable prices.

The campaign slogan is “here’s to the things in life you can count on.”
Blackstone Ad
And to back up their promise, the brand is offering a product guarantee. “We’re so sure you’ll enjoy the taste of Blackstone wines that if you don’t, we’ll pay you back. Count on it.” says one ad.

Log in to (enter your legal drinking age, of course) and you can submit your information to receive a refund under their satisfaction guarantee offer terms. The offer, however, it is not available in some states (due to legal constraints), including New York… to which the company follows up with “we are very sorry.”

Especially in tougher economic times, people are not eager to spend more on a brand they haven’t heard of. But a money-back guarantee can be a motivating safety net. It shows the brand is willing to stand behind their product or offering. For potential customers, it can then inspire a “nothing to lose”-type confidence in order to try the new brand. And in fact, most people who do try, don’t request a refund. But even for those that do, if the brand follows through in customer service, there’s still a lingering positive brand image despite the product not being up to expectations.

Having this transaction facilitated online may also score some points even with those unsatisfied customers. Who wants to actually speak to a person or deal with the paperwork when relating an unsatisfactory experience? The extra hassle may be the reason why some people never bother filling in a refund request. But I also believe brands that offer this type of guarantees have to be pretty confident on their product – or the risk of backfiring would be too high.

‘Till next time. Tchau!


Give it to Texas to actually take a stance against big banks. Take a look at some of these great ads by smaller, local banks across the country trying to win over customers… how? By taking advantage of the high level of distrust in larger institutions.

Check out others at

Jets Ad


‘Till next time. Tchau!

Trust for Real?

November 3, 2009

On Air Another way to start intriguing conversations online is with original content. So original it is actually live.

This week’s article in AdWeek, Marketers Get Real, reports that several brands – including Burger King, Adidas and Diet Coke – are streaming live content on their digital platforms as a means of making them appear more real and “relatable.”

“The best way to deliver truth is real time,” said Alex Bogusky, an industry opinion leader featured in the article.

“If brands want to … be seen as ‘friends,’ then they also need to have flaws like real people have,” said another.

Personally, I am not so sure we really hold brands to the same standards as our real friends. In most cases, actually, I expect even more from them than from real people. But again, this is part of the evolution of this type of trust marketing where customers ultimately have the say on what they want or expect from a brand. And brands will either live or die by it.

Experimentation with original content and mediums to deliver it, therefore, is not likely to slow down, experts predict. And the truth is, companies that fear transparency will probably have a harder time surviving.

‘Till next time. Tchau!

Deliverying Trust

October 31, 2009

When times are bad, trust is the fall back. Package shipping is probably the service industry that relies the most on trust. Shipping is the literal delivery of this promise. And it depends on it.

If we did not trust that our package would arrive at the right location on time, then we would send it with someone else. And sometimes we even pay more for this guarantee. But in these tough economic times, when people are looking for any way to save money or not spend it all, the industry has felt the hit. So FedEx is asking customers not to compromise. Even if things are starting to look up.

FedEx AdFedEx recently launched an international online and offline campaign focusing on “its reliability and expertise in helping consumers navigate a fast-changing economic landscape.”

“The economy is up. Your delivery costs don’t have to follow,” one ad reads, and adding, in smaller script, that FedEx International Economy allows users to “save money without compromising on quality and reliability.”

The question that remains is will customer’s trust deliver? Another campaign to watch…

‘Till next time. Tchau!

Check in to Meet up?

October 21, 2009

FoursquareIf you, like me, still prefer to keep up with friends and family the old-fashioned way but can’t ignore the convenience of digital technologies (see post on Social Needs and Accepting Trust), Foursquare could be a site worth checking out.

The headline on this New York Times feature says it all, Face-to-Face Socializing Starts With a Mobile Post. With this online service, you download the free app onto your phone (or use text shortcuts) to “check-in” your current location. And when you do so, Fousquare tells your friends where they can find you, recommend a few places to meet and other things to do nearby. So it basically helps you with the two major meeting logistics – the “who” and the “where.”

A great concept, for sure. For advertisers, as well. As hubs of “mayors” are formed, these influencers can carry a lot of weight in bring in new visitors and users to a brand or place, with free coupons and all.

This site, however, is not widely popular yet – with membership still in the thousands across 31 cities, according to the article.  But its nimbleness is also its appeal and the reason current users are very loyal. These early adopters are trying out the offering and their experience is what will ultimately make or break the awareness of the site. If they trust it, use it, like it, they will recommend it to their friends, and then it’s only a matter of time before it reaches the magnitude of a Facebook or Twitter.

So, in the meantime, I’m going to give this a try, check in with a few friends and see about the city… I’ll keep you all posted.

‘Till next time. Tchau!

Social Shopping Rave

October 19, 2009

Social ShoppingThe truth is we generally don’t trust advertising… neither most sales people. So no wonder we turn to people we do trust for recommendations on what products or brands to buy. Only a true friend will tell you that that pair of jeans really make your butt look big (nicely, of course). As more of us become confident online shoppers it also becomes natural that we turn to our social circles on the web in search for credible advice.

From books to electronics, restaurants to the movies, we talk about what we buy and how we liked it, or not. So maybe without even noticing, our trust in our friends just made social network sites the optimal medium to reach influencers and their “influencees.”

According to a BusinessWeek article this week, Facebook, with its community of 300 million members around the world, has figured out a way to capitalize on the opportunity to enable social media to ring at the register.

With Facebook Connect, retailers can get the site’s log-in window on their pages. This enables customers to quickly and easily share information about the items they’re browsing with friends and get their opinion on it. Thumbs up or down, it’s a click to checkout.

This service is the company’s attempt to make “shopping social again,” a nostalgic tribute to mall shopping with pals, they say. And like so, other sites are also banking on social shopping – such as, which promises to connect shoppers who rave with the products they crave.

Sure I can see how facilitating the sharing of information can generate the buzz and traffic retailers gloat for. Because if it’s convenient, friends will share. But only as long as we feel we’re not being sold to. There again lies the fine line of trust.

‘Till next time. Tchau!

Password Phishing

October 10, 2009

HotmailIn the subject of safety and protective trust, the recent news that thousands of passwords were stolen from Hotmail and posted online certainly breached this core need.

As a Hotmail long time user (yeah, a little old fashioned), I breathed again when I realized only passwords for accounts starting with the letters A and B were leaked. Nevertheless, I quickly logged in to change my password and security questions, just to be safe.

Does this event make Hotmail users trust them any less? It certainly questioned it for me. Not because of the event itself. It was clear that it wasn’t a security breach within the Hotmail systems, rather the wrongdoing of an untrustworthy member. But more because of how the company handled the event post-mortem. While the article indicates that Hotmail is working with affected members to resolve any issues, as a “non-affected” member I also expected some reassurance from the company to 1) acknowledge the event; 2) recommend a course of action to shield against phishing attacks and 3) reinforce the company’s position in protecting our trust and our online identity. A simple Member Services email would have done it. But I received nothing.

In today’s trust digital environment, not saying anything is also saying something. And we’re listening.

‘Till next time. Tchau!

P.S. – when I first linked to the story above there was an ad for Columbia University SCE. I smiled proudly 😉