Trust me, I’m a liar.
“I’m not upset that you lied to me. I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.” - Friedrich Nietzsche
I recently came across this quote and I’m not usually a quote lover, in fact I’m quite judgmental when it comes to quotes. I find most of them don’t stick.
This one jumped out at me and got me thinking a lot about the subject of trust. Before you jump the gun, I’m not writing this because I have been brutally betrayed by someone and have lost all faith in humanity, I have just always loved the notion of trust and consistently learning about how it plays out in our relationships.
I discovered that there is an actual equation for how trust is built and it looks something like this:
TRUST = CREDIBILITY + RELIABILITY + INTIMACY
Easy right? Be credible, reliable and I’ll believe you. Actually, I feel like we should add authenticity into that mix as well and it would be the perfect equation. More often than not, I find myself on the skeptical side of the spectrum (unless it’s April Fools and for some stupid reason I am oddly gullible). This skepticism carries through into my role as a consumer for all types of media. This may be due to my experience in marketing and advertising and knowing that everything has another story to it/a brilliant team of professionals behind it/ millions of dollars put into it. Now that we live in an era of manipulation, I know it’s possible to manipulate nearly everything.
In fact, today on Facebook I saw a classic example of where people trusted a piece of media to be true and instantly and helped it go viral. It was an image of a nightclub in Mongolia where there was a dog fighting arena set up and there were Heineken banners in the background (as if Heineken was a sponsor to this dog fight). Whoever posted it was of course outraged and stated that they would never drink Heineken again if they support this kind of activity. But, who’s to say those banners weren’t photoshopped in? Well, they weren’t, but Heineken released numerous statements saying they too were outraged because they never sponsored such an event. In fact, the banners were up in the bar from the night before for a promo event. I’m sorry to say Heineken, even though I believe you, I’m going to have a hard time trusting you going forward.
It’s so easy to trust everything you hear, see, and read and so difficult to go against the grain and be critical. I think in 2013, it’s time for people and brands alike to be hyper aware that with all our interconnectedness and access to instant information you have to be willing (and vulnerable) to admit when you messed up and say how you have changed or are different now to re-establish trust and build back your own brand. Be authentic in how you regain trust and deliver on your expectations from here on out.