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I have been spending a lot of time thinking about trust over the past year. And a lot of time becoming truly frustrated at orthodox approaches to trust – the endless league tables of most and least trusted brands and the sterile alliterative advice from PR firms about how to be trusted.

So I called bullshit on all that stuff and set about trying to build a fresh approach to creating trust that ignored the brand and business world and instead looked to people and organisations that have trust building down to a fine art. This journey took me into conflict resolution, festival culture, motherhood, empathy and the peer to peer revolution. In particular I spend a good while reading and talking with Jonathan Powell from whom I have learned by far the most. Powell was the UK Government’s chief negotiator in Northern Ireland during the peace process and now runs a conflict resolution organisation called Inter Mediate that applies many of the lessons from Ireland to conflicts around the World.

Unfortunately the white paper that has resulted is still under wraps but I thought I’d post a taster in the form of a handful of brand trust aphorisms to whet the appetite and perhaps stimulate thinking you are doing in this arena.

1)    The frustrating thing about trust is that every brand wants it but none know how to get it

2)    Approaches to building brand trust that look no further than the brand world are myopic and self referential

3)    Brands must stop craving trust and start behaving in ways that make them trust worthy.

4)    Reliability and dependability are the dull but essential foundations of trust building.

5)    Agreements are nothing, implementation is everything

6)    To get trust, first you have to give trust, a fact that escapes most brands

7)    We trust those that trust us – trust creates a positive chain reaction

8)    Transparency is overrated in building trust, unless its transparency of agenda

9)    People dis-trust brands that appear to have an agenda at odds with their own, regardless of the quality of their product or service

10) Without a willingness to take risks you will never create an organisation that is trusted by its people and customers

11) Trust is on the lips of every brand owner but is it really in their hearts?

Image courtesy of mikenusbaum

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