TRUST REALLY MATTERS IN OUR DIGITAL AGE

TRUST REALLY MATTERS IN OUR DIGITAL AGE

During my career, I have been fortunate enough to work on amazing brands worldwide like: E*Trade, Weight Watchers, Coca-Cola, P&G, Unilever, Nestles, IBM, etc. – so I know that continuing to build and maintain strong brands MUST be a strategic priority.YES, character, ability, strength and truth are the keys to both business and life. However, from my experience in the Advertising & Marketing world – trust has to be proven, solid and built on daily especially in the creative process and in all things dealing with strategic development.

Your customers and clients will recognize and reward your trust, that’s why maintaining your customer’s trust is one of the best ways to reduce business risk in recessionary times. The stock prices of companies with strong brands, such as Unilever, Procter & Gamble, and Johnson & Johnson, have held up better in recessions than those of large consumer product companies with less well-known brands.

For over 30 years I have found, when a client or brand is highly confident that an agency will meet its expectations, the client may be persuaded to commit resources to the agency, accepting some minimal level of risk. When clients select new agencies, clients commit their time and money in return for an expected desirable business and marketing outcome. Importantly, over three decades, I can confirm that ‘trust’ is the building block for loyalty, results, delivering on promises and success!

Having specialized in Technology marketing for the last two decades, I have found it is simply a mistake to continue to think and talk about technology simply as a platform for people to learn or communicate about brands –it is NOT.

Technology has been forging the same kind of deep emotional connections with consumers that we used to see in other categories such as personal care, automobiles and FMCG’s. This is not altogether surprising, because the amount and sensitivity of personal data that is entrusted to technology companies today is unprecedented.

Although clients trust their agencies to deliver creative and strategic results this also requires a healthy and solid working relationships!

I have watched and observed the most successful leaders and agencies in the Advertising Industry and they are all are amazing at:

  1. Collaborating with their clients and brands
  2. Keeping and building long-term relationships with their clients
  3. Establishing the best relationships have shared agreement over business objectives and understand their clients business deeply.
  4. Building a true and pure sense of TRUST which occurs only when both marketers and agency teams ‘share’ the same definition of creativity to help them solve their problems. (Too often, I have seen Agencies over the years more interested in selling their ideas and winning awards than fixing clients business objectives. Obviously, these agencies have NOT built the respect or trust that’s needed in today’s digital world.)
  5. Delivering educational marketing that does a great job of demonstrating ROI as an awesome method to build and enhance trust.

WHY TRUST TODAY HAS FALLEN TODAY

I think there are many reasons why TRUST today has fallen not just between Clients and Agencies BUT, because Social Networks, Search Engines and #Technocrats have transformed too rapidly over the last two decades. Some great examples of how this betrayal of trust has occurred include:

  1. Desperate for data on its competitors, Facebook was caught secretly paying people to install a “Facebook Research” VPN that lets the company suck in all of a user’s phone and web activity (THIS IS WRONG) Unfortunately, even Apple allowed Facebook to let this happen and even helping with their App Store.
  2. Just this past week, Google whistleblower Zach Vorhies announced “Clinton body count” now appears as a search suggestion, on the heels of 50 new Antitrust probes accusing Google of monopolistic practices. Note: Antitrust laws mean: laws were originally established to check the abuses threatened or imposed by the immense “trusts” that emerged in the late 19th Century. View: https://www.projectveritas.com/2019/08/14/google-machine-learning-fairness-whistleblower-goes-public-says-burden-lifted-off-of-my-soul/ 
  3. GOOGLE IS WATCHING YOU IN YOUR HOME – According to an op/ed from the Washington Post: If you opt in to the Hub Max’s “face match” features, Google asks each family member to briefly scan his or her face. Then the Hub Max’s camera stays on, ambient, looking for those faces. When the Assistant finds one, it tailors the content on its screen. In the morning, it spotted me and proactively displayed a rundown of my day and commute – I never issued a command. You can also use it to leave reminders that pop up when the intended recipient passes by. (THIS DOES NOT BUILD TRUST) View: https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/09/09/google-is-always-listening-now-its-watching-too-with-nest-hub-max/?noredirect=on
  4. THOUSANDS OF AMAZON EMPLOYEES LISTENING TO ALEXA CONVERSATIONS – Amazon employs thousandsof people to listen in on what people around the world are saying to their Alexa digital assistant, according, to what is sure to be a Congressional hearing-inspiring report, according to a report by Bloomberg, which cites seven people who have worked on the program.
  5. According to Robert Epstein, who has documented that Big Tech (specifically Google) bias and algorithmic manipulation can shift millions of votes on Election Day. (Watch: Mark Levin spoke to Dr Robert Epstein about the manipulation of votes an… https://youtu.be/QYct0Z5f1AU )
  6. It is sad for me as a digital pioneer from the mid 1990’s to now watch in 2019 – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton recently meeting with U.S. Attorney General William Barr to discuss a range of options including antitrust law action against Google, Facebook, Twitter and other Technocrats and Silicon Valley powerhouses. – THIS DOES NOT BUILD TRUST!

SUMMARY:

For establishing a solid partnership between Clients and Advertising Agencies today, these are, and always have been: the key steps to a successful relationship:

1) Focus as much on interpersonal chemistry and communication as you do on mass communication and social media.
2) Work with your clients daily or weekly to better define and understand the evolving role of creativity in the digital and interactive world.
3) Support clients in recognizing the distinction between “different” and “risky.” This is a major reason I have seen so much turnover with CMO’s and Agencies since the ‘dot com’ days e.g. 1994-2000
4) Integrate your marketing efforts – by that I mean, while Facebook is a social media giant, it’s a great rule of thumb to integrate your advertising across a few platforms rather than focusing all your attention on just one. For example, instead of concentrating all of your efforts on Facebook targeted ads, consider running something through Twitter or LinkedIn.

5) Create Meaningful Connections – I recommend being transparent with your advertising and marketing approach and look for ways to help potential clients. A focus piece on winter activities in your area or a feature covering a new restaurant can help you build trust with consumers, which will hopefully turn into a lasting professional relationship.

6) Authenticity is key to trust and more vital than it has ever been.

7) A major shift that is profound today is the convergence of brand and design. Consumers today are trying and bonding with brands through design touchpoints and their experiences, not through advertising alone. Brand leaders today — Apple, Google, Coca-Cola, Amazon, Nike, Microsoft, P&G — are also design leaders. Importantly, advertising and marketing can amplify the success of a great design, but they can rarely compensate for a poor one. Therefore, trust is a function of the brand messaging lining up with the consumer’s actual interaction with the product or service.

Finally, I have heard from some various well-connected and networked friends and colleagues that the Trump administration is reportedly about to take direct action against Big Tech giants for their censorship of conservatives and election meddling. Google’s Code of Conduct used to contain the phrase, “Don’t be evil.” but hundreds of leaked documents, videos and reports raise the question: Is Google, in fact … being evil? This is a critical question we must ask of one of the most powerful and influential companies in the world. And, yes Facebook, Apple, YouTube, Twitter and Amazon also need to be far more transparent too.

Let’s pray that many of the California headquartered Technocrats are not working with Communist China as well because they simply could be facing potential criminal charges for flagrantly violating privacy laws. Americans deserve far better and our Constitutional Rights deserve to be upheld, especially with the 2020 Presidential Election looming.

Today, trust is more important than ever and it can be the single most important source of strategic advantage.

 

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