Seth Godin
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Online and off – we are faced with information overload. In fact, we have more messages coming at us every day, and faster than ever before.

Who can you trust? What can you believe? (and… do you ‘see’ anything at all?)

Advertisers try to get you to see their marketing, and eventually buy their stuff all the time. But, you probably have seen ads or videos where the guy or gal looks the part, says the right thing, right smile and perfect message – but for some reason, you don’t believe them?

Seth Godin talks about power sneezers and promiscous sneezers for ideas and messages in his book “Unleashing the Idea Virus”.  The promiscous ones are essentially bought out, but they can make things look believeable, because they are somehow trusted in the public’s eye. Actors are a good example of this.  But some are not.

“I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV”

In business, and for leaders in general, it’s not easy to inspire high, consistent confidence, and especially if you are unknown. It can take years or even decades of concentrated effort into order to have a reputation as a trustworthy leader who means what he or she says. It can take just one bad day to undo that trust as well. This means that you must be diligent at all times to inspire confidence in yourself as a leader.

Whenever you’re making decisions in private, whenever you’re dealing with your employees, whenever you’re addressing the public, either directly or through an ad, you must be totally sincere.

The people will know if you aren’t. And they won’t forgive you.

So, what is one way to build trust for your own brand?


Sincerity is one of the most important qualities that any human being can have, and those goes double for a business owner.

This goes TRIPLE if you’re involved in advertising. People today tend to be savvy to the games and tricks of businesses and advertisers. If they’re talking to someone who has something to sell, they tend to get skeptical and cynical and look for reasons to mistrust the person speaking to them.

After all, they’ve got a profit to make, right? What do they care about the truth? A business leader who is insincere plays into cultural stereotypes and creates huge obstacles for his or herself.


One of the reasons that sincerity is so important is because it instills confidence in people. If one is sincere, it means that one can “afford” to be sincere, because one is an expert and one knows what one is talking about. One of the best ways to cultivate an image of sincerity is to cultivate the image of being an expert in your field.

This is actually fairly easy to do on the internet. At its core the internet is all about information, so if you’re adding to the information on the internet in a valuable way, then you can quickly cultivate a valued reputation. The blogosphere is great for this. If you can produce a blog that offers valued information in your market, and actively engage in the blogging community by sharing links and info with others, then you’ll soon gain a following that will seek you out as an expert. Then, you should have no problem situating yourself as a valued seller in that same field.

An Example.

For example, if you’re selling dental equipment, you can run a blog about the latest advancements in dental equipment. You could also go onto forums where people discuss dental equipment and answer questions that people post, freely giving up your time and valued knowledge to benefit others. In no time at all, you’ll become a valued member of that forum or blog community and word of mouth will spread, helping both your reputation and your sales. It’s all about taking your talents and innate knowledge and putting them out there for others to recognize and acknowledge. Don’t worry about it being perfect either. Be real, honest, helpful.

Besides that, you should also cultivate sincerity in your business by pursuing transparent practices and establishing a strong sense of accountability in your corporate culture. Gradually audit and refine these qualities over time, and your reputation will only grow.

What else can you do to build trust and connect with your customers?


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Entrepreneur Magazine says Jon Rognerud is one of the most sought-after Digital Marketing Experts. His clients extend from high-end brands and middle-tier businesses in both B2B and B2C. His SEO website optimization book, "The Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Website" from Entrepreneur Press is in bookstores now.