Trust: the best kind of asset

I’m a big fan of Seth Godin’s books, and on his blog he has a post entitled “No business model” which discusses how an altruistic act of managing a free community newsletter made by an online marketer has not only been helpful to a community, but has also had a positive impact on his firm’s reputation. The generosity has been a trust builder, and as marketers we are definitely in a business where trust is an essential element. It is possible to create short term effect with hype tactics, but if there is no substance behind the hype you can quickly find yourself in the midst of a negative backlash. Sustained positive impact can only come in an environment that fosters trust. By bringing value to his community without asking for anything in return, the hero of Mr. Godin’s story has gradually built a wide-reaching reputation based on his character. This can only have a beneficial effect on his future business dealings.

A great book on this subject is “The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything” by Stpehen M. R. Covey. In it the author explores the nature of trust and how it can have a real dollar effect on business – trust impacts decision making and can dramatically alter the time it takes to work a deal or build a relationship. More than just looking at the impact of trust, the book goes on to discuss habits that help build trust in relationships and approaches to damage control and rebuilding when trust is broken. I recommend it as essential reading.

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