Lara Martini TRUST BASED MARKETING: Redefining your brand in a new reality

Automatic Summary

Welcome to the era of customer trust and engagement

Welcome to London! This morning, I am so pleased to share thoughts on creating trust with your customers from the comfort of our homes. In this strange situation where most of the individuals are now self-isolating, embracing the digital life is essential for us to stay connected and productive.

Identifying the breakdown in Trust & Building it Anew

The world today is witnessing a unique, albeit challenging, context when one talks about trust. Events of trust being questioned or breached are more common globally; be it in the area of news reporting, political or societal ideologies or even the medical sector.

This brings us to the question,
How is trust built?

Elements of trust

  • It starts with understanding who we are.
  • Knowing about the individuals in our circle facilitates trust. Our ancestors laid the proof for this with their system of attributing importance to one's last name.
  • Then comes the part of finding a common ground, a similar interest or passion. This validates our trust in individuals or organizations that we may not necessarily know on a personal level.

It appears that this concept of trust does not limit itself to societal norms but also affects businesses greatly. Statistics show that businesses are trusted more than governments in various regions worldwide, thus entrusting businesses with a colossal responsibility towards factors that contribute to trust.

Role of Businesses in shaping Trust

We live in times where consumers expect businesses to play a pivotal role in the society. Be it adopting environment-friendly ways to conduct business, giving a voice to societal issues or executing practices that ensure individual privacy when it comes to handling personal data, consumers are keen on seeing businesses evolve beyond just providing a product or a service.

Business Actions leading to Trust

  • Be genuine: Businesses can adapt a transparent approach when communicating their goals. This trust-building action allows consumers to understand both the commercial and societal aspects of the business.
  • Stay Consistent: Consistency goes a long way in cementing consumer trust in a business.
  • Value Relationships: Businesses that focus on building robust and sustainable relationships have a higher chance of earning consumer trust and loyalty.
  • Find Common Ground: Quick adaptations keep businesses relevant and thus, more trustworthy in the consumer's eyes.
  • Ensuring Compliance: Last but definitely not least, businesses must prioritize compliance with laws and regulations as this factor significantly influences consumer trust.


Trust is indeed an unspoken commodity that businesses must strive to earn in today's world. As the saying goes, "Trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair". On that note, let's take inspiration from this blog to carry forward trust-building actions and strive to leave a positive impact in our professional journey.

Video Transcription

Welcome to London this morning and to home. This is a strange situation. We're all in presenting from our houses. As you can see, we're ma making pinatas with the kids this weekend. So thank you also for taking the time. I know it's been busy for all of us.Many of us isolating at home. So really appreciate you taking the time to log in and to come and join me this morning. And without I get started, I'm Lara. I work at Salesforce. I'm in charge of customer engagement across I, I am also lucky to be on the board of the Data and Marketing Association here in the UK and a few other places. So I think what Emerald was talking about this morning about privacy resonates a lot with me. And one of the reason it does is we live in a very weird context when it comes to trust. I had prepared a different presentation and then I shifted to this one after I saw the news last week. So I saw this picture in the British Press last week and it was saying this is a protest in Italy against Europe and the Euro and I thought that's weird. Let me go and check in the Italian Press. And then in the Italian Press, there was indeed a manifestation. It was smaller to be fair and it was against COVID lockdowns and against vaccines. Now, all of these are breaches of trust.

Uh you know, it's not only the news presenting the same picture in different ways, it's also if you think about and, and regardless of where we stand, uh you know, Brexit, the anti vaccine movement, what's happening these days in the US, they're all really breakdowns in trust.

It means I don't believe that you or authority or Pharma or whoever it is is telling me the truth and in my best interest and that's really a problem at societal level. So let's talk a little bit what builds trust first. So for many, many centuries, trust was based on who we are. I trust in you because you are the son or the daughter of. That's why many of our last names include our piece, our place of birth or include the name of a father or mother. Because that was important. I could trust someone when they were my kin. When I knew who they were, then it became who we know. You know, for example, Italian emigrants who were going to Australia or to the Americas would carry a letter from their priest, introducing them to the local parish. Uh It could be also what you see on the job. You know, I have a friend who it's the way we meet on linkedin. The first thing I will look is do we have other connections in common? And then the third thing is, of course, things that we have in common, uh It could be a passion. We've seen a lot of that happen with COVID these days and I'm part of a mutual assistant group. People came online just to help each other during COVID. So there was that one similarity of interest. You can see it.

If you go on Amazon and you look at other people's reviews or trustpilot or any of these other sites, you don't really know the people who wrote the review, but you trust that they have one thing in common with you and then uh I cannot do that Carla because if I do, I cannot see the chat anymore, I can make it a little bit bigger.

But if I put it too big, uh you cannot, I cannot see you guys anymore. Thank you for bringing it up though, Carla. And then you know what we have in common and who we know could also be a legal framework. It could be, I have an IO certification. It could be I have a contract. These are all things that make us trust. Now, why are we talking about this? We're talking about this because businesses have a super responsibility interestingly and I hope you can see the slides. I know you will get them, uh, later. The problem is if I do that, I cannot see the chat anymore. So I'm happy to do that, but then I won't be able to do the chat. So I'll have to toggle back and forth. Businesses are actually more trusted than governments in many places. Uh, if you look, you know, at different statistics that we have about who people trust, sometimes people trust the judiciary, sometimes people trust doctors. Most of the time people don't trust as the police in some countries, they do, but consistently business is trusted. And so that creates a responsibility for us, we can some we have something to do in this breakdown of stuff. And to be honest, people expect businesses to do more as you can see here. If you look at the NM on trust barometer and it's a pretty long research, it's on online. It's very, very interesting.

I encourage you to go and dig it up brand are expected to take a role in society. Consumers want to see that companies are engaged. They want to see that they consume less plastic. They want to see that they take a stance on what's happening now in the US. They want to see that we take a stance in what's happening with the environment and social inclusion and reputation is a big, big part of why people buy, which is not only related to product but really how people behave. Of course, the majority of people also don't want to see this as a market employ only. So, you know, all this green washing thing, for example. But people want to see that there is a social responsibility that we handle our supply chain well, so that it doesn't include slavery, for example. And that's very important. Now, it's a delicate line. It can backfire. You've seen it with the position of Twitter and Facebook lately on President Trump's speech, you've seen it, you know, with the theories around uh Bill Gates that have been circulating of late and earlier. Uh Soros has taken a lot of fire.

Uh you know, you see a lot of backlash as well, but the point is there will be a pressure on businesses to act whether it's from consumers, whether it's from governments like in Hong Kong. And so somehow we have to take a stance if businesses don't take a stance, uh they will get in trouble as well. So we have to choose and the thing is not only as employees but as consumers, we have a voice and something to say there. And if you see it, this is really an evolution in consumer choices. It started with the product, I want a product that is safe. I want a product that doesn't have asbestos and baby powder. But it's also what's my customer experience. And for example, Emerald was talking about that before I want someone who handles my personal data correctly. But now it's gone beyond that. I want someone who actually helps me with digital literacy and understanding what's going on in the world. I want a brand that will take a stance and sales force is a great example. Literally, our CEO was on the street demonstrating for LGBT rights a couple of years back and so on. So that stance is becoming important. It's not only social responsibility handling of data is extremely important and you can see it in the behavior of people. So the way people make their choices when they buy online again, what Emerald was saying in the earlier session, they look at credible websites. What's a credible website?

It's trust, they choose providers, they trust, they use a credit card, which is an intermediary. You know, you can buy on a website that you trust or you can choose a tech partner because they are gold partner, partner with someone and therefore you can trust them. And then sometimes it also goes country based. I trust the laws in my country better than I trust the laws somewhere else. And therefore you can see that it's not only social responsibility. Of course, it has to do with the experience, but it has a lot to do with social responsibility. And if you look at this very recent survey about what consumers want, they want data production, they want the products to work at advertised, they want them to be safe, but they also want consistency in the brand promise. They want companies that treat their customers well and treat their employees well. So it's really a shift and it's very important at a time when, as we were saying, trust has a bit broken down in politics, trust has a bit broken down in international organizations and institutions.

So at this point, we have a strong role to play. And if we don't do it, we're also taking a stance. So let's talk a little bit about what you can do. I'm just going to exit for a little little second so that I can see if there's any comments. Ok, learn from each other. Let me go back then into presentation mode. So what can we do? Well, the first thing is we can be ourselves. Remember the three assets of trust that we spoke about who you are, who, you know what you have in common. I think, well, COVID has given us a fantastic example for being ourselves. People get into com calls, get interrupted by kids, kittens, dogs, uh you know, noises on the street, everything in our workplace and people have learned to enjoy that. People are no longer ashamed to be interrupted by their life when they are in a concord. It's sometimes actually what people enjoy the most. The second thing is who we hire and who we choose so we can hire for diversity. And I'm not thinking just diversity of gender though. It's the obvious one in this room, I think also diversity for ability. The D MA here in the UK, on our website has published a wonderful study on how you can interview for people who have autism or people who are neuro diverse and how to make the interview process more easy for them so that they don't get filtered out because it's all based on social interaction.

Uh It's people with other disabilities, it's younger people or older people. Sometimes it's hard to hire a person who's 20 years older than you. I've done that and it was a fantastic employee. She's great, uh you know, mentor and sponsor others. And it's not only about mentoring, it's really creating opportunities representing others and then it's choosing where you work. And if you're starting, you can say, well, you know, it's hard enough to find a good job, but we may not find the job of our dreams, but we'll always have options. And so in those options, where do you want to work? Who do we want to work for? What do they stand for? Then once we're part of the company, we can define the company. And again, of course, if you're a senior leader, you talk for the values of the company. But even if you're young, when I started my career at Microsoft People at that time, were telling me and this was, you know, late nineties, hey, you're really nice. But your company and I would stop them. No, my company hired me, I'm here because they put me here. It's not as in them. I choose the company, I represent the company, but you can define your values salesforce again. Really good example. We always start presentations with values DNA, the same thing, other organizations communicate on your goals.

And that's why I think businesses get this level of trust. They can be transparent, you know, where a friend of mine is now opening a pub. And yeah, they want to make money, but they also want to sell products that are locally sourced and they want to do so responsibly and give a safe and good experience for kids and families. It's all good. They don't have to lie about the fact that they want to be profitable because people want to have a pub, understand that to have a pub, it needs to be profitable. But they also appreciate all these other things that they stand for and the fact that they're genuine and it's a choice, stay consistent I think is self explanatory. And then of course, focusing on relationships and seeing every interaction as a relationship, not as a transaction.

And it's of course, even easier in the digital world because people tend to return and tend to build a trust relationship. You can also focus not only on your relationship with the consumer, but on other relationships. Again, who are your intermediaries, who are the people that will speak to you who are the people who are influencers and will help you promote. And so you really build a healthy ecosystem. That makes sense for you. You find common ground. Well, how do you find common ground first? You adapt quickly. Uh for example, understanding what's happening in market, we took a very difficult decision last week because of what's happening in the US. We had an event coming up and we literally decided not to promote it, which is hard. You organize an event, think of this one. And then you say, well, we're three weeks before the event and we stopped promoting it, but we just felt it was the right thing to do because the mood of the market was with other things. So you have to constantly listen and fine tune and of course, be willing to innovate. And I think many of you are coming from uh the east and from Africa.

I've seen fantastic innovation come from these markets where a product that was meant to be used one way, becomes used another way. And you know, as a company, you can pick that up and you can say, hey, I hadn't thought about that. Let me bring my customer on board, let let me learn from my customers and see what we can do. And of course, you can invest in alliance and be proactive, invest in that country, invest in that market, hire people that are similar to the people that you want to talk to or if you can't because you're talking to kids and you don't want to be employing kids. You know, how do you listen to them? How do you stay tuned? How do you communicate to ways? And of course, always, always be compliant, you know, joining an organization, like for example, the D MA or other associations, CIM for marketing in the UK, you name it for your country. Uh You know, you can join organizations that will help you interpret and be part of the conversation. You can actually shape the law, especially in technology where government sometimes don't know how to do it.

Uh You know, the whole dialogue around A I, there's a lot of self regulation in the industry. You need to train people. Uh you know, for example, for compliance, many of the companies I've been in every three months, new training for all employees. What does it mean to be compliant? What is corruption? How do you avoid it and then shape the debate and participate? And these are all things that you can do like you are doing here. So this last slide is a little bit of an eyesore, but it's the best graph I could find for the topic essentially what it means is that the countries are evolving quicker where there is a level of trust in society and you see it again and again, if generally people in things like world value survey answer.

I believe most people are good. They will be more open to trying new technology and more open to benefit from that technology. They will also understand it better. And this is very important to us because we can play a role there. And that's the dialogue that really I hope to start today. One, how can we educate our customers? Digital literacy is very, very different than all literacy. Many of us, you know, you went to school maybe for a few years, you can read and write. But can you understand the context of a picture, you know, back to that picture? Did it look iffy? Is that really a manifestation or is that a picture from three years ago somewhere else? Uh How do I make sense of A I, what are my rights with data? If you are compliant with data, how your customers understand what it is so they can discern and they can not go to the companies that are not compliant and it is not about competition. This is really about helping your customers understand what's going on. What can you learn from your customers? How are they behaving in new ways? And you know, a lot of what we're seeing, a lot of the sharing economy really came from customer behavior. And then sometimes we say, hey, we need to refine tune this now that it's getting big. How can we keep learning from that? What messages are we sending, do you know what you do? Advertising, whether you do movies?

Uh So I've been watching a lot more movies lately than I normally would because of COVID. And you see so often like the lead role is the guy and then the woman is the one asking the question or reading the report. But you know, we all do that one way or another in the messages we send. What stories are we telling? Uh what media and intermediates are we using? What are we spending our money? And at the same time, are we doing too much? And so one example is now with COVID, a lot of small radios and small print newspapers are suffering for lack of advertising. And what happened is many large companies said I'll invest in your platform, but I don't want my name near any articles that are COVID related. Well, guess what? All of a sudden, the majority of the articles are COVID related. A lot of the advertisers are pulling back because it was the local restaurant, the local, whatever that is now closed and these people are suffering. So, you know, if I were in that position, would I rethink that and would I do something that will invest proactively through the crisis to support them quite like many years ago in my D company when we went through the crisis of 2007, 2009. For those who were there, we shut down all of our marketing and we literally invested in our partners creating projects for them so they could keep their people employed. And then the last thing is who are you giving a voice to?

So again, you know what stories are we telling? But also who are we choosing to engage, who are we choosing to talk to? And so I think that we have a big role to play because one consumers expect it, which creates a space of allowance. It's not weird anymore for a brand to come and say I have this position on the opposite. People will expect it and we have the opportunity to do so because companies more than others have an ability to invest and we have we in this room have the possibility to do it because you're engaged and you want to do it. So let's take it. I think I have a couple more minutes just for questions and yes, Lena completely agree. Actually, I must say I'm guilty when I was very new in my first job, I was trying to get an intern and then they told me you get an intern. Yeah. And then it was a person who was uh completely paralyzed and I thought this is weird. I wasn't ready for it. And now I would definitely cherish that and that person I must say did a fantastic job. So sometimes, you know, we have to overcome our own limits as well. 20 years ago. I didn't think the same way as I think. Now any questions, any comments, you guys still here? I'm not. Thank you.

I'm going to close in one minute, but you can definitely find me on linkedin. Thank you. Go looking forward to hearing from you as well. Anything you guys want to share maybe a story, a comment, Graciella. Ok. So with that, I wish you a lovely, lovely day and looking forward to continuing the conversation. Thank you, Mania mbue Elizabeta Karina. Thank you everybody and enjoy the rest of these three days.