Trust or more importantly lack thereof, is a massive issue in this country.
Now it’s not just businesses and business leaders. We don’t trust we hadn’t trust politicians, governments, ministers, we don’t trust media. We don’t even trust nonprofits like we used to.
And it’s not just me saying that. That’s the Edelman Trust barometer research that comes out every year and, and for a for a couple of years running, all of those institutions of business, media, government and nonprofit, are in trust deficit territory, which is a pretty sad indictment.
Now, what can we do as business leaders, community leaders, as communicators with the ear of the senior leadership in your organization? What can we do now? One great strategy is really to humanize the business. Now that sounds naff, doesn’t it? So let me rephrase that, is to take people behind the velvet rope of your organization, of your company.
This is a lot easier for smaller businesses. Obviously bigger organizations are going to – with plenty of hierarchies and everything else – will struggle a little bit with these.
It’s a cultural thing, but make no mistake the, the companies that we can relate to, the people behind it that we can build a genuine connection with. That’s what ultimately will engender trust over the long term. So we’re talking about trust and stories of people very much about the people, less jargon, more people and lots and lots of transparency and showing us behind the walls of your organization or as is written in this great book Marketing Rebellion.
I’ve just finished reading by Mark Schaefer. Really good book, highly recommend it if you’re in marketing, definitely. But even business leaders and community leaders should be reading in anyway. But I’m going to quote here from Mark in Marketing Rebellion and he talks about peeling back the curtain.
So I talk about behind the velvet rope of your organization or open the kimono was another phrase that I sometimes use, but peel back the curtains of your organization. And I’m quoting Mark here. Customers want to believe in you. And in order to do that, they need to see who you really are.
Again, transparency – show people the whites of your eyes.
He quotes author Mitch Joel, again, a really good writer, podcaster, blogger – Mitch Joel of Six Pixels of Separation. Author Mitch Joel put it well when he wrote the key to modern leadership is transparency – spot on – and he’s quoting Mitch now:
“Make visible that which is hidden – data, business process, human resources, technology, sales, marketing, professional development, internal meetings, team performance. And the list goes on. There are countless areas where leaders can make significant advances simply by making visible that which is hidden.”
Now this is going to scare the bejesus out of a lot of people, but ultimately it’s a cultural change. It should be driven by communications.
We have all the tools and the technologies at our disposal to do that, and I think it can be done smartly, it can be done strategically, but it is a, you need a culture of content in your organization. You need to empower your social media team, your PR team, the communicators within the walls of your business to be able to tell that story and to be able to go behind the scenes.
And ultimately that will be one way of engendering trust and nurturing and building trust with consumers, with the people, your constituency, but also your employees, your partners, suppliers, stakeholders, shareholders, all of that sort of stuff.
And so an important cog in the trust machine and it needs to be looked at, from a leadership perspective and then driven through communications.