The Elements of Trust
On Friday, we had some fun at our expense with the release of the latest Ipsos annual survey. This year’s results show that advertising as a profession is no longer the least trusted. Politicians rank lower on the list. Of course, that’s not saying much. Being the eternal optimist, this low-ranking provides us with a great opportunity for trust-building. We also shared the top five things that influence radio buyers to trust a rep according to Borrell Associates:
Source: Jeff Schmidt, RAB
Ability to describe audience/capabilities of media product
Overall knowledge about marketing and advertising
Knowledge of the client’s business or industry
Connection to the local market
Personal manner (personality, eye contact, handshake)
Due to the importance of trust, we wanted to dig a little deeper today. The advertising industry applies and uses acronyms for everything – because it helps us remember. While TRUST is a simple five-letter word, we at the Radio Advertising Bureau are using it as an acronym. Trust as an acronym embodies these elements:
T - Transparency – Your friends, clients and co-workers deserve the straight story – no spin.
Things change, and mistakes happen. Sometimes, with the best intentions, strategies fail to deliver. When they do, don’t sugarcoat it or try to spin it in a favorable light. Tell the truth – even the ugly truth – and work with the client to make the appropriate adjustments.
R - Responsibility – Behavior – not words, mean the most.
Take responsibility for your actions. This can be as simple as showing up for appointments on time or making calls when you said you would. If you commit, take responsibility for it – follow through. When mistakes happen – and they will – admit them immediately and take action to create solutions.
U - Understand – It’s our job to understand the challenges our clients are facing, as well as the nuances of ad categories and the business changes.
Running a business today is more complex than it ever has been. The more you can demonstrate that you understand businesses’ unique challenges, the more likely you will be able to serve them. People trust and work with people who “get it.”
S - Service – Superior service demonstrates the importance of the value placed on the trust you’ve earned.
As representatives of brands or organizations, you can never maintain a long-term relationship based solely on product or price. It is what you do beyond that. It's your service that will set you apart.
T - Truth – Be truthful in all interactions.
Truth is the foundation of trust. In the other areas of trust-building, there is likely some latitude and room for mistakes. But when it comes to truth, a single lie or misrepresentation can kill a relationship.
Jeff Schmidt is the SVP of Professional Development. You can reach him at Jeff.Schmidt@RAB.com. You can also connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.