Is Your Brand Trustworthy?

This week I attended an event put together by the American Marketing Association (AMA), Tampa Bay Chapter, in which Todd Taylor, Area Director for FranklinCovey, was giving a presentation on  “The Speed of Trust”. The presentation was based on the new book by the same name, authored by Stephen M. R. Covey, the son of famous author of “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, Stephen R. Covey.

I haven’t read the book, but the content of the presentation was interesting and provided some food for thought. The premise is that people do business with companies they trust. Employees are more productive if they work in an environment that feels trustworthy. Company’s costs go down when trust is rampant throughout the organization, and customers come back to do more business with you if they feel they can trust you.

Here are some of the main ideas behind The Speed of Trust:

Five Waves of Trust

Trust is like a drop in the water that creates waves reaching out, ever expanding. This is the core message from Covey’s trust theory, described as 5 waves of trust:

  1. Self: the confidence we have in ourselves, how we set and achieve our goals, our ability to inspire trust in others.
  2. Relationship: our behavior towards the people we interact with (spouse, co-workers, friends, etc.) and our ability to expand trust to the other people in our lives.
  3. Organization: this is how leaders can generate trust throughout the organization, how people interact during work and the impact trust has throughout the company. This is a key principle for managers, on how they lead their teams and inspiring them.
  4. Market: your organization’s reputation in the market as a trustworthy company to do business with.
  5. Societal: contributions you and your company make to the community and the world.

For a great overview, check out the video below.

Four Cores of Credibility

These are the four factors that create credibility:

  • Integrity: honesty, if you act according to your values
  • Intent: your motives, your agenda
  • Capabilities: the abilities we have that inspire confidence
  • Results: our track record, our history of accomplishments

It’s interesting to note these four “cores of credibility”, as Covey calls them, and look back at why people do business with you or your company. Better yet, think about the people YOU trust and why is that so. That mechanic you take your car to because he’s the only one that you feel will give you the correct diagnosis and pricing. The accountant you go to when you need to get your taxes done. Why do we trust people? The “four cores” above are the summary of what we go through as we think of trust.

Thirteen Behaviors

As if five waves and four cores weren’t enough, we’re given 13 behaviors. These are the behaviors that trustworthy people follow and that you should too if you want to increase your ‘trust index’.

1. Talk Straight
2. Demonstrate Respect
3. Create Transparency
4. Right Wrongs
5. Show Loyalty
6. Deliver Results
7. Get Better
8. Confront Reality
9. Clarify Expectations
10. Practice Accountability
11. Listen First
12. Keep Commitments
13. Extend Trust

Seems obvious, right? But are you really behaving in a trustworthy manner? And how can you influence your team, your department, your company to start practicing these behaviors? This is the question you should be asking yourself.

Marketing Trust

As marketers, we tell stories. Our stories are told via our website, our emails, our presentations, our product collateral, and with every other customer touchpoint. By understanding how trust is created, disseminated, and by practicing the thirteen behaviors in our campaigns (honoring opt-out requests, being upfront about product shortcomings, being honest in the description of product features, etc.) we can positively impact our company’s business.

Helpful links

Some helpful links for those interested in learning more about the “Speed of Trust” book and concepts:


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