Brand is an expression of Trust (video).
Think about how many profiles you have on line. If you are like most business people you have one on Linked In. Most of us average six that we can remember! Profiles sum up who you are, your education your experience and may include some references from satisfied customers.
What you do
All those profiles have one thing in common. They are about what you do. They give your title and your position and what the company is all about. They answer the question, “What do you do?” in all kinds of ways to make you look credible, honest and trustworthy.
Times have changed
When we lived in villages you and your product or service would be well known in the local community. A very few managed to build a reputation that reached the next village. Usually that was because of the excellence of the product. The smith made superior knives. The weaver had patterns not seen elsewhere. Seldom, if ever did those reputable products get sold in other countries.
Trade needs governance and finance
The further afield people went to trade goods the more risk all of them took on. Think of the ships of Venice sailing off laden with goods purchased by the merchant princes to sell in other ports hoping to fill their ships for the return voyage with the wares available there. They were still practicing business one to one. But the folks that stocked their ship on both ends needed a way to be sure they got a fair price for their goods.
Banks became the middlemen. They loaned money to the merchant traders to buy the goods on the promise of being repaid. They evaluated each loan much as they do today…on the basis of trust.
What is your credit score?
The single most important evaluation for getting a loan in today’s world is your credit score. This is data captured by three different services reflects your behavior over time in terms of repayment of debt. It includes auto payments, credit cards, mortgages, etc. The assumption is that you will treat new debt as you have treated it in the past.
The problem is that there are other factors that go into a loan’s risk assessment. They also look at your income stream. Independent professionals get clobbered here. A consultant friend with credit scores at the high end of the scale has income that fluctuates. Even though he owns 6 rental homes and has never been late on any of those mortgages, the bank won’t loan him money to purchase another rental.
What is your Trust Score?
There is no widely accepted service for this but have you looked at what people have to say about you or your product or service on-line? You are reviewed and rated by the services you use. Your product or service is rated whether you like it or not.
Trooly, acquired by Airbnb in 2017 could provide a staggering array of information from on-line sources to rate your trustworthiness. All they needed was your first and last name to mine the rich wealth of digital data available on just about anyone.
Trusting a perfect stranger
Today, we need to trust strangers because we do business on-line. We assume a trusting nature but need to look hard at the reviews and ratings before we digitally plunk down our money. There are apps becoming available to help us.
Tala, developed as an app for smartphones allows this new idea of micro-banking to work in developing countries by evaluating the loan requestor based on the data on their phone. Items like:
- Current spending
- Consistency in income
- Size of their network
- Length of calls (over 4 minutes indicates stronger relationships)
- Regular connections to more than 58 contacts
- First and last names in contact list (more than 40 suggests the person is 16 times more reliable)
The net effect is that they don’t need a credit score to determine if someone is trustworthy.
Then there is the promise of Blockchain Technology.
That is on tap for next week.
Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com
His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development for independent professionals on and off-line.