Friday, December 30, 2011


Consultant Kare Anderson, writing for the Harvard Business Review, thinks comparisons, not cold facts, are the secret to holding customers' attention.
"We are wired to draw connections between things, even where there aren't any," she writes. If you want to hold your audience spellbound, put that wiring into service.
When you compare your product to something your customers already know, you do yourself a huge favor.  Once you've drawn a comparison between your product and something familiar to your audience, Anderson says, "you have set the context in which people will view it and decide upon it, just as a general chooses terrain favorable to winning a battle."
Anderson offers these tips:
  • Swipe someone else's slogan. A California hospital increased blood donations by asking the public, "Got blood?"
  • Use numbers. Outdoor gear-maker REI's TV commercial depicts two women atop a mountain at night. The voiceover says, "Even the finest 4-star restaurant is no match for one with 4 million stars."
  • Try humor. A Cuban who couldn't serve decent food to his guests blamed Castro's revolution: "The three successes were education, healthcare and sports. The three failures were breakfast, lunch and dinner."

Thursday, December 22, 2011

What's that Smell?

It's true: America is exceptional. America is the only nation in the world where people's trust in every kind of institution declined in 2011, according to the latest Edelman Trust Barometer.

But you already knew that (particularly if you've read my free report, Path of Persuasion).

What are most marketers doing about it? They're cultivating "trustiness," writes Seth Godin in his blog this week.

Trustiness stinks.

It's shabby.

And hollow.

And it stinks.

t's easier than ever to build a facade of trust," Godin says. Real trust, on the other hand, "is built when no one is looking."

n other words, trust is earned; trustiness is just clever BS. "Trustiness is what happens when you use trust as a PR tool," Godin writes.

The difference between the two is obvious, once you experience trust.
"Trust experienced is remarkable; trustiness once discovered leaves a bad taste for even your most valued customers."

r at least a bad smell.

2013 Update. Not long ago, the slogan of CBS News was Experience You Can TrustNow we learn CBS puts profit above free speech, as reported by ForbesHow's that for abusing trust?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Why Trust Matters

In The Customer Blog, consultant Maz Iqbal asks: Why does trust matter so much to customers?

"We human beings do not like to be faced with uncertainty, vulnerability or risk," he says. "These three factors take an emotional toll on us. We prefer to work on 'autopilot,' which is simply another way of saying that we prefer to trust."

Trust functions in business relationships as the customer's "safety net," Iqbal says.

“In situations of perceived risk or vulnerability, trust has the role of a safety net, helping the customer to make a decision by minimizing uncertainty and risk."

Trust depends on three qualities: competence, integrity and benevolence.

"Customer trust is based on the expectations that the service provider can be relied on to deliver its promises, care for customer needs and demonstrate competence,” Iqbal says.

But those qualities are only part of the picture.

Trust also rests on an organization's reputation for good citizenship.

"Customers look for indicators like responsiveness, flexibility, willingness to compromise and act beyond the profit motive. This is where being known as a company that values both social good and profit matters."

How about your organization? Do customers trust you?

I'll bet they don't. To learn why, read my special report, Path of Persuasion.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Won't Get Fooled Again

Writing for Branding Strategy Insider, J. Walker Smith says the recession has taught consumers a harsh lesson.

"Consumers have concluded that the real trouble came not from those they didn’t trust to begin with, but from the very ones they were relying on to watch their backs," he writes.

Discovering they've been hornswaggled by bankers and brokers has them left them angry.

"As this crisis has unfolded, consumers believe that every new revelation has added yet more proof that the game wasn’t fair."

"Fairness" is the consumer's new mantra, Smith believes. 

"Consumers want to be treated equitably. They don’t want their interests betrayed by the furtive self-interests of the companies and brands with which they do business.  They want an exchange that is true to what it professes to be, and they want companies and brands willing to bear their share of the responsibility and sacrifice."
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