There’s a classic trade ad for McGraw-Hill Magazines in which a stern-looking guy in a desk chair says, “I don’t know who you are. I don’t know your company…Now-what was it you wanted to sell me?” (There’s more copy, but you can see it for yourself.) Decades later, we live in a world of self-professed thought leaders and a PR firm that proclaims itself the arbiter of “trust” in its annual surveys, leaving the rest of us to wonder what we can truly believe.
So how does a brand prove itself? Margot Bloomstein has some thoughts in her book Trustworthy: How the Smartest Brands Beat Cynicism and Bridge The Trust Gap.
Bloomstein outlines a simple, three-point plan to create and maintain and effective communications plan that builds trust. Using examples from startups, established brands, and government entities, Bloomstein reiterates the need for clarity, transparency, and accountability at all times. As we all know, it’s easy to say and incredibly hard for brands to implement.
Trustworthy makes a great read for anyone who’s building a brand from the ground up or reworking a communications plan. There’s plenty of advice for getting started, plus dealing with issues and problems that arise along the way. I wish it were as easy as Bloomstein outlines. Unfortunately, today’s world gives brands of all kinds the ability to hide the truth behind legalese, jargon, and behind-the-scenes chicanery that doesn’t mesh with their public image. The question becomes: Corporations and their advertising & PR firms created the trust gap — do we trust them to close it?
Special thanks to Smith Publicity for providing me with a review copy.