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What is Trust and How To Get It for Business Success

What is trust is a massive question for marketers or anyone researching some product or service they need or want, so what is the first point of trust you look for?

These are a few trust indicators I can think of:

  • Social Media (Facebook likes/shares, Google+, Digg etc.)
  • User Comments/Feedback (on blogs and shopping sites)
  • Online/offline reviews (online product reviews, magazine reviews etc.)
  • Brand Recognition (well known brand)
  • Abundance (i.e. the product seems to be everywhere)
  • Celebrity Recommendation (‘endorsed by’ etc.)
  • Personal Recommendation (from friends or family)

So which is your top one? And equally importantly, do you see one omission?


The one thing missing from the list above is the trust gained by knowing the owner of what you are after.

It could come under brand recognition, and if it were, say, Sir Richard Branson, then that would make sense, but the question is, how many small businesses push personality as one of their top trust signatures?

Take a look at all the top brands. How many actually do this? I would love to know if any research has been done, but my gut feeling is that only those companies that are still driven by the founder use personality to sell trust.

Now that Steve Jobs is gone, will Apple’s PR machine use his name? I don’t think so. In fact in just a very short space of time since his death, the media has lost all interest.

And this despite the fact that Apple are now the largest ever company in history to make up more than 4% of the US stockosphere! (movement in Apple shares are now skewing US stock exchange figures).

This is one of the big problems with corporates. We all know them as faceless, non-caring, profit-grabbing entities.

So what does all this mean for small business owners?

For a start, you need to pay attention to ALL the trust indicators. You need every weapon you can possibly get your hands on. You want to succeed, right, so that means you must be a ‘better’ version of whatever it is you do than all your competitors.

And that may as well start by personal branding. The reason for that is simple. From the list above, the biggest trust signals are recommendations starting with your friends and family. They care for you, therefore they have your interests at heart.

If you concentrate some of your effort on YOU, the brand, then others will notice, and once they start to notice, recognition gets easier and easier.

Get yourself out there. The more you interact with your audience, the more they will return your interest.

And the best way to get started is to make sure your message is as clear as possible. Here’s the question you need to answer right now:

What do you do?

If you start meandering all over the place with your answer (or you have none at all), then you have some work to do.

Now ask your competition what they do?

Finally, compare answers. Who would YOU go with?

So, what is trust? Get that, and you increase your chances of success.

Quentin Pain

My earliest ambition was to become a rockstar (my band once backed The Waves who went on to win the Eurovision Song Contest). Unfortunately I decided to start a business to support my rock star dream, and as luck would have it, the business took off big time and the rock star dream died. I was 23. By the time I reached 50, my total business count was 6. The last one was Accountz that went from zero to 36,000 customers in 6 years. I now run ProofMEDIA Ltd and my specialism is copy that wins trust, engagement and long term sales. I'm also a published author (including a Dummies title), have won many awards including the IAB Small Business Mentor of the Year, and am a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.