If we trust experts as a source of information for a company, why aren’t there more ‘out there’ in the marketplace?

Expert - Arrows Hit in Red Target.

The Edelman Trust Barometer is a worthwhile research report released annually.

Simply, it ‘takes the pulse of the people’ in terms of whom we trust, and how much we trust them when it comes to business, government and the media. The global report is broken up into regions and countries so we can easily compare not just year-on-year, but region versus region and country versus country.

According to Edelman, unlike reputation, which is based on an aggregate of past experiences with a company or brand, trust is a forward facing metric of stakeholder expectation.

One of the consistent key findings of the Trust Barometer research – and I emphasise the word consistent – is that the most trusted sources of information for an organisation are both internal technical experts and independent third party experts, academics and the like.

Publishing content

This being the case, why then don’t we see many more companies and organisations putting their experts out in the marketplace to communicate with customers and influencers? Why don’t we see a lot more company experts on social media and/or publishing content via blogs, whitepapers and ebooks, podcasts, webinars and online video?

Ditto aligning with credible third parties (not celebrities!) to help educate and empower customers by arming them with relevant knowledge, information, insights and perspectives.

My message to senior management:

  • Empower your internal experts to create and publish original content that will be interesting and insightful for customers and influencers (relevant, of course, to your business and the products, services and expertise you sell).
  • Encourage them to become active on social media thus providing a credible human face for the organisation.
  • Get them out on the speaking circuit and in the press (help them prepare for the experience, of course).
  • Partner with academics and credible third-party experts and respected industry commentators – content creators with credibility and engaged audiences: Get them involved as active participants on behalf of your organisation!

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Expert visibility program

These activities should not be undertaken ad hoc or in ‘willy nilly’ fashion; your ‘Expert Visibility Program’ should be just that, a program that’s planned strategically and executed with passion and purpose over the long term.

Only then will your organisation reap the benefits of having expert individuals – real-life human beings, not corporate ‘drones’ – to connect with customers, spread your brand story and build goodwill with the marketplace over the long term.

Oh, and by the way …

Given the CEO is perennially mistrusted as a spokesperson for an organisation according to Edelman (in Australia, the figure languishes at 33 per cent), why then don’t more companies scrape the veneer off their bosses, get them out of the shadows of the boardroom and put them out in the public domain more, especially on social media and via online publishing platforms.

Don’t just speak to journalists, with highly-polished key messages in hand. CEOs and senior executives need to be out there communicating more frequently, openly and honestly (no spin folks!), directly with the public.

Building trust in the C Suite won’t happen over night, but at least steps can be taken strategically to rectify the situation by building the trust constituents have with the leaders of an organisation.

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5 thoughts on “If we trust experts as a source of information for a company, why aren’t there more ‘out there’ in the marketplace?”

  1. Trevor I couldn’t agree more. The issue is getting that all important strategic clarity and focus for the content program up front. And, in the process, executive buy-in.

    This requires a long hard look at why we are doing this, what we want out of it and how it ties back to the business objectives – a step that surprisingly many companies don’t explore thoroughly enough.

    1. Thanks Craig, I agree with you 100%! Strategic planning is so important, and yes, the program will only work if rubber-stamped from above.

  2. Totally agree with your comments Trevor. When I have asked senior executives why the don’t use social media more to increase their profile and build trust, most of them say ‘I don’t have the time’. But that is really an excuse – and indicates to me they don’t consider it a top priority. Hopefully we’ll see this changing as they realise the implications of not making this a priority…

    1. Thanks for stopping by Kim 🙂

      The ‘time’ thing is definitely a weary old excuse – I always ask what they’re doing marketing-wise that is not effective and therefore a waste of time – maybe consider cutting something back instead … ?

      I like dropping in the example of Gary Vaynerchuk. No executive would be busier that @garyvee, yet he still manages to tweet (a lot) + create more content than any individual I’ve seen!

  3. Pingback: Content-first communications: Tapping into the power of owned media

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