“Trust: a firm belief in the reliability, truth or ability of someone or something. ”

— Oxford Dictionary


Can brand advertising make you believe a businesses is trustworthy?

I am surrounded by software developer types, at home and within my business. All day I listen to ramblings about Linux, OS X, Ruby on Rails, Python, Java, Open Source this, MIT that. You would think when I have IT issues it would be like getting granted a few free wishes at a fairy godmothers’ conference. Not so.

When we began having life threatening computer complications, people I call friend and even husband seemed to be working on what I believe were less important technology concerns (like their actual jobs).

So in the absence of interested technology support, where did this candle in the wind turn to when the rain set in? I went somewhere I knew would be trustworthy, who would get the job done………who I’d never met or had any kind of referral from. I went to…… Geeks to U. An IT company, who had done some serious bursts of brand advertising.

I didn’t compare prices, I didn’t ring around, I didn’t ask other businesses what they use. Why? Because Geeks to U had an adorable radio ad and non stop air play and my brain just took a shortcut. It took familiarity and likability and made it equal trust. Exactly the same equation we use to evaluate people.

Humans are programmed to be constantly assessing either consciously or subconsciously friend from foe with the objective of increasing our chance of surviving in a dangerous world. While it probably was designed to stop us being sat on by a woolly mammoth, it is as alive in our brains today as it was in the Ice Age.

Trust plays one of the biggest roles in the way we make decisions not only about people but when buying goods and services. People will only part with money if they can be pretty sure that what they are buying will deliver to expectations; help them with their problems; improve their lives; won’t treat them badly and won’t rip them off.


So how do you create brand advertising that engenders trust? Here are my top 5 picks.

Be seen – just rocking up guarantees you a seat at the trust table. The more people see you, the more they believe you are trustworthy, whether you are Joffrie or Robb Stark. Familiarity breeds trust.

Be well groomed – Don’t let your brand turn up in trackies and uggboots or a 1990s suit. Like it or not people, especially people new to you judge by your appearance. Look pretty.

Be consistent – your tone of voice, your main messages, the things you say need to be consistent across all your activity. Discrepancies cause suspicion.

Be genuine – people can sniff out when brands aren’t authentic. Talk from the heart.

Show you care – listen to your audience, what are their fears and worries, what makes them happy. Let this be reflected in all your messages . Empathy drives the trust mobile a long way.

As for Geeks to U, was their cute as pie brand advertising all marketing hype? Not one bit. Andes (my geek), arrived on time, was well groomed and fixed my computer with efficiency and aplomb. Exactly like they told me he would. Everyone’s a winner.


Image via Flickr cc/Megan Trace