Human beings have a difficult relationship with fear and risk. Ulrich Beck (1992), a German sociologist and professor at the London School of Economics coined the term ‘risk society.’ He used the term to sum up societies where risk has become a major concern, leading to people living in fear.

Marketers and salespeople have known for a long time that fear and loss sell.


Fear is the ‘lower order’ stick and the brand is the ‘higher order’ carrot. Think of all the ads which claim that if you don’t buy this or that brand you are running mortal risk. The soap and detergent ads that destroy our invisible enemies – bacteria – and protect our children. One ad campaign or another may not have effect on the overall level of fear in society but, combined with the media and all other fear-based messages from other brands, it does contribute to the overall negative impact.

Fear affects the level of social capital in our society by making us more worried, stressed and less trusting. Loss and the fear it invokes changes our behaviour and causes us to act irrationally.

Today however the smartest brands are moving away from this interventionist trend. They no longer depend on unfounded fears to create new needs but realize that they can prosper and build trust by delivering their product or service efficiently, whilst having small moments of celebration with their customer in just getting the job done correctly. A Zappos video, an Innocent wooly hat, or even just a smile and a thank you from someone behind the counter – these are authentic  ways to connect and build the relationship.

For the complete guide on how to create trust in your businesses and brands get your copy of Why Should Anyone Buy from You? BUY NOW


The 5th August launch date of my up-and-coming book WHY SHOULD ANYONE BUY FROM YOU? is fast approaching.

My book is about the collapse of trust in business and brands and what you can do about it for the good of society, your customer and your business. We developed this 1 minutes video to introduce the book.

The book is available for pre-order NOW on both and
AMAZON.CO.UK:Why Should Anyone Buy from You?: Earn Customer Trust to Drive Business Success (Financial Times Series)

AMAZON.COM:Why Should Anyone Buy from You?: Earn customer trust to drive business success (Financial Times Series)

You can download an introductory chapter for FREE which gives a flavour of the core topics of the book.

I hope you order a copy and enjoy it.




I am delighted to announce that my book WHY SHOULD ANYONE BUY FROM YOU? published by FT Prentice Hall is now available for pre-order on both Amazon UK and Amazon US.




Trust in business is at an all-time low. If your customers don’t trust you, you can spend as much time, effort and money as you want on marketing campaigns, branding and advertising and it will barely move the needle. This revealing book shows how the only reliable route to sustainable business growth and profit is to build trust in your company.Why Should Anyone Buy From You? exposes the startling truth about the impact of trust on business. It is occasionally a damning indictment of current business practice and frequently an optimistic take on how companies can achieve deeper, more trusting andultimately more profitable relationships with their customers, shareholders,employees and other stakeholders. People may be more cynical, more empowered and less trusting than ever before but it is possible to learn how to create a trusted business and brand. This book shows you how.Here’s what some very smart people are saying about the book:

“The relationship between what a business does and says in winning trust is complex –if you want to understand it better then read this book.”
Rory Sutherland, Vice-Chairman, Ogilvy Group UK

“A thoughtful, engaging and often challenging exploration of trust in brands today.”
Nigel Gilbert, Chief Marketing Officer, Virgin Media

“Why should anyone buy this book? Simple, basini is one of the few marketing thinkers who genuinely challenges the status quo.  His ideas on trust, on brands and on the future challenges for marketing will change the way you do business.”
Mark Ritson, Associate Professor of Marketing, Melbourne Business School

“This book cuts to the heart of the brand relationship – trust -in a refreshing and eminently readable manner.”
Mike Hughes, Director General, Incorporated Society of British Advertisers

“Trust is not just a pre-requisite for doing good business, but is the fundamental bedrock of a sustainable society. Read this book, reflect on it and then get straight out there and do something about it.”
Tom Farrand, Co-Founder, The Pipeline Project & Good For Nothing


Many of my real world friends who read this blog might be bored by me banging on about trust – so I apologise off the bat for this post. But quite few of my readers dropped me a line following my recent trust post about BT so I thought I’d share a few more insights from my research into the historical, economic, psychological and sociological research into why trust is important to human beings and their societies. I hope to create a dedicated site to this research soon. So if you have questions or thoughts on how businesses can build trust then please leave a comment or get in touch with me.

I’d like to share three further insights into what businesses (and their brands) have forgotten about how trust works.

1. Trust is only built through dialogue. And the thing with dialogue is that is it two way. Most brands have forgotten that in order to have conversation you need to have a point of view, be interesting and have continuity. Make an (easy) imaginary leap that I am boring and suffer short term memory loss (but you don’t know that). Our first conversation won’t be good and the second, as I deny all knowledge of knowing you, has the potential to be positively damaging . Yet call the typical contact centre and you will be subjected to minutes of disclaimers telling you what can’t be discussed and then they have no knowledge of the 10 calls you’ve made before. Zip on the trust front.

2. We trust more in people than anything else. Everything else is an abstraction. Whatever the brand models and marketing literature say trust is fundamentally a human thing. Yes, it is possible to trust in brands, businesses, governments, organisations etc but the quickest and easiest way to build this is to get people to do the talking and the doing. The recent Toyota recovery press advertising covered this well. Whilst they might have handled the whole crisis poorly but this advertising with its premise of “we are thousands of people working as hard as we can to recover the situation” was fundamentally human and powerful.

3. To be trusted, you need to trust. Every brand I’ve worked with wants people to trust them – that’s the point of brands right? Yet most businesses and their processes don’t trust the customer. Businesses too readily default to a position of policies that cater to the downside risk of fraud and loss rather than trust their average customer. You’ve banked with a high street bank for 40 years with a perfect record but retired last year. Try asking for an unsecured loan – 40 years counts for nothing – policy says “we don’t trust you”.

If you want to build or rebuild trust you could do worse than allow your humans to be human.

Got a view – comment below and please share using the social bookmarks below (just click on them!)

As ever thanks for reading…..


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Financial Services brands: it’s not about being different but making a difference

New blog following a debate at the Financial Services Forum this morning.

Justin Basini

Thinking about marketing, branding and advertising.
Open for chatting, collaborating and consulting.

+44 (0)7786548395

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After a really interesting RSA talk yesterday by John Lanchester author of the book about the credit crunch called Whoops! I’ve captured my thoughts in my latest blog post Morality and Banking.

Battle of the Big Thinking….Escaping the Matrix

Well after what seems like a very tough few weeks with wet towels wrapped around my head I emerged nervous and sweating for The Battle of the Big Thinking conference organised by Campaign and sponsored by APG.
You can see the presentation plus a slidecast of the speech and the core ideas at:
Have a look and share your thoughts – there is a great debate to be had about marketing’s impact on our society and consumption economics. Let’s start…..

This blog has just been listed on Alltop

Alltop, confirmation that I kick ass

I am proud to say that this blog has just been selected for listing on Alltop. If you don’t know about Alltop it is a very cool blog/content aggregation tool which you can use to set up your “own magazine”. I use it alot to go through lots of blogs quickly on the subjects that interest me such as branding, marketing, banking, starting up a business and leadership. You can also do fun stuff like share your selections with friends – you can see my Alltop page here.

You can find my blog under Marketing (click or search for marketing on Alltop front page) and I am the last blog (right at the bottom) – well you have to start somewhere!

Hope you continue to enjoy my blogs and using Alltop.

Thanks to the team at Alltop for reviewing my blog and selecting it for listing.

Next challenge is to get Guy Kawasaki (@guykawasaki) to retweet one of my blogs!



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I’ve been thinking about Trust again as I pick up my book writing after a summer break.

I want to return to a theme that I discussed in a speech that I made to the Financial Services Forum conference earlier this year. You can download the text of the speech from my website. If you read my earlier blog on Banking and Common Good there are some key themes that emerge if banking is to regain our trust as consumers. As I outlined in that blog I believe we are a turning point but there is significant regression to the mean and that the old status quo is most likely to return. I read with interest in the weekend’s FT about the prediction of a bumper bonus season for the investment bankers.

As “masters of the markets” financial services can contribute market based solutions to the biggest problems. The issues facing us today as a globalised society are bewildering: climate change, peak oil, water crisis, natural resource depletion, all underwritten by uneven wealth distribution, poverty, crime, conflict,increasing urbanisation. These issues are moving more quickly and in a more interrelated way than ever before. The European Carbon Emissions Trading Scheme and the futures markets for protection of Amazon land, are all examples of financial markets contributing solutions.

Contribute proactively to a move away from an age of naked consumerism to something that priortises inidividual well-being and community cohesion. Imagine a world where a conversation in the bank, with a bank manager, could assess whether a credit card to fund that new purchase, or a stretching mortgage to buy that bigger house, were needed putting individual happiness at the heart of the discussion.

After all is said and done what we trust are organisations that have values communicated through their actions, run by accessible and open people, businesses that value their loyalty, and seek to create profit by creating products which meet consumer needs transparently. We will trust brands that communicate openly and positively about the many benefits they provide. Brands can move from basic levels of trust when their businesses start to play for higher goals.

What do you think? As always please feel free to share, retweet, comment and get involved.



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