We know trust is the central currency of good business-building and personal branding. We define it as a “firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something,” born from the Old Norse word treysta, meaning to “rely on, make strong and safe.” For people to buy from you, follow you, hire you, refer you and continue to invest in your work and thinking, they need to believe that what you say aligns with the actions you take in both your professional and personal lives. That’s trust.
Unfortunately, and unsurprisingly, trust levels are at an all-time low around the world. The Accenture 2022 Fjord Trends explains this widening trust gap this way: “It’s been suggested that, over the past 18 months, trust has been so tested that it’s created ‘Information Bankruptcy’—a state characterized by record low levels of trust in all information, alongside soaring fears around job security, personal safety and autonomy, and societal matters. As a result, many are increasingly interrogating the sources of the answers they get.”
Edelman’s 2022 Trust Barometer found that nearly 6 in 10 respondents said their default is to distrust something until they see evidence it is trustworthy. Government and media are among the least trusted institutions, and while businesses are the most trusted, people want to see business leaders take more of a stand on the issues they care about, especially as they relate to jobs and the economy, wage inequality, technology and automation, and global warming and climate change.
When we think about building a personal brand, we often think in terms of providing value. How can we share resources, expertise and opinions in ways that are most valuable to the people and communities we want to impact? This question is critical and guides our thought leadership content strategy.
But even more importantly, we want to ask: How do we help people trust us?
For business owners, this can look like a number of things, including:
For corporate professionals, consider:
Trust is the gap between message and delivery; between what you say you stand for and what you do. The question is: How can you shorten the distance?
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