Welcome to the July edition of the Carnival of Trust.
I specifically invite you to read it as a whole, not as simply ten selected parts. There are themes that weave between the ten postings.
That’s what we promised you: an intelligent winnowing down to ten of some excellent writings on trust—in business, in sales, in government, in personal life.
But I hope this goes beyond. There are several story lines connecting the postings. I have tried to point out a few. Please have fun finding others, and add your own commentary here.
Thanks to all the contributors, including a number of excellent submissions that didn’t make it to Top Ten this time. Please don’t be disheartened; if you’re on point, keep submitting. Next month, the Editor at the Blawg Review has kindly consented to host the Carnival of Trust; guest hosting will be the rule going forward. Please stay tuned for details.
John Mack is a respected newsletter writer and blogger in the pharmaceutical sector, a major part of global industry and a critical one these days. Mack analyzes a Harris Interactive poll that shows "consumers think Big Pharma is shifty as well as greedy." No, no, not shifty too? Mack interprets for us.
Is it possible for a mega-corporation to act transparently and in the best interests of the consumer, in the belief that doing so will generate wiser customers first, and, later, higher profits for the company?
Ron Shevlin, at MarketingROI, would like to think so, and suggests that Bank of America’s recent educate-the-consumer initiative is such an effort—at least on face value. Not unlike what Brad Burnham’s point of view B argues in Who Do You Trust to Edit Your News, below.
I share Ron’s hopes, though I’m sceptical that a major company like BofA can achieve escape velocity from the mass of company-centric, short-term metrics that have hijacked terms like "customer focus" in recent years.
What do used car advertisements and dating services have in common? Allan Patrick educates us about Akerlof’s law about the asymmetry of information. Basically, absent independent brands of rating systems, "liars drive out buyers." What can a small quality website without brandname or a massive rating system do? Patrick has a few ideas. Interestingly, one of them—give the customer more information—would appear to be exactly what Ron Shevlin is talking about in A Little Knowledge is Great Marketing—see above.
Economics 101 tells us markets are about products and prices; in Econ 201, you hear about advertising and bargaining and bluffing, and in industrial economics, you learn about power dynamics in industry sectors.
But in Life 101, you learn how haggling over rugs creates relationships and societies, as well as efficiencies and long-term customers.
Scott McLeod applies a great two-by-two matrix concept from Peter Block. The model is for analyzing leaders’ relationships with their essential people. For each relationship, how much do you trust them, and how much do you agree with them? Not all 2×2 grids result in useful diagnostics; this one does.
Ardath Albee talks about relationship marketing minus thought leadership in her blog Marketing Interactions.
"I was speaking with a VP of marketing who said thought leadership was low on her priority list because it didn’t have an immediate impact on revenues…
The problem with only focusing on the near term is that when it runs out, what have you got left? To build credibility, every B2B company that’s in the game for the long-term should focus on thought leadership as one of their initiatives. Relationship marketing is a focus of many marketing initiatives these days, but without credibility, how strong a relationship can you build?"
Quite right, Ardath; high relationship can’t excuse zero content.
Michele Martin works at the intersection of new media and the non-profit and government sectors. Trust works there too. Michele highlights an adept use of blogging by Six Apart CEO Barak Berkowitz to create trust—legitimately. You can tag this under transparency and candor as well as blogging and trust. (See also Alex Todd’s post, one selection down from this one).
Alex Todd is a thoughtful writer and consultant on trust, particularly on his concept of trust enablement.
A good example of Alex’s thinking is this post, about a current proposal in the Canadian legislature called the "Federal Accountability Act." Says Todd:
you cannot defend against a loss of trust unless trust already exists. Creating sustained trust – in government, commerce or our private lives – requires a balance of two approaches: both building trust and creating mechanisms to ensure that trust will not be abused.
A fine example of solid thinking applied intelligently to real and current issues. Listen up, Ottawa. And Washington. Trust isn’t just about prohibiting conflicts of interest; it’s also about engineering trusted relationships. (See also Dawud Miracle’s entry about markets and relationships, above).
Brad Burnham reports on his personal power-take-away from the Personal Democracy Forum in New York.
Point of View A: The lack of editorial control on the web leads to a dumbing down of media and culture, wherein YouTube makes television look positively BBC-like and facts are wildly out of control.
Point of View B: The web instantly corrects mis-statements of fact.
Brads post says more about this. He feels POV B wins on the media point. I feel persuaded on that point, but the case for dumb and dumber at the cultural level still stands, IMHO.
How should you keep your word? Impeccably.
So argues Tupelo Kenyon, concluding "your word is your bond, your character, your reputation, and your integrity. Your word is your opporutnity to practice being impeccable."
He argues it tightly. And at length. And in terms ranging from logic to history to poetry. You might say, impeccably.
Not an obvious choice for this carnival, but I hope you’ll agree a good one.