Horatio Nelson – like any great leader – didn’t command trust by accident or his position; he worked at earning it. Do you have a strategy that creates trust?

Unwavering commitment to his country was what marked Nelson out as one of the greatest, most inspiring leaders of our times. He was fighting for a higher power over and above any personal gain and taking risks to deliver, these behaviours compelled people to trust Nelson in the most difficult of situations. And whilst the business landscape today is an altogether different battlefield, brands and businesses need a framework of beliefs and behaviours that can guide them through to trust.

The most trusted businesses and brands use a combination of factors to command trust:

  • They have a Mission – they know what it is that their business actually wants to achieve both commercially and socially. With every decision they are on a mission that helps achieve a sustainable balance of positive outcomes between all stakeholders. They compete on social as well as commercial dimensions. Nelson’s mission was to fight for King and Country to the bitter end.
  • They understand risks and benefits – the mood in many developed markets today has switched from greed to fear. Consumers are much, much more aware of the risks that they run, as well as the benefits that they may attain. Most marketers are stuck in the age of benefit selling and find it difficult to connect with consumers around risk and fear. Nelson, having worked at virtually every level in the Navy, new the risks and fears of his men, he actively connected with them frequently and personally.
  •  They communicate – using their communication to set the right expectations, and describe and connect with their individual narrative. They understand the promises that are being made, and match their messages with both the reality and the aspiration. Nelson often used story-telling to illustrate and guide his commanders.
  • They behave –the best businesses create a culture of trust both within and outside the organization, and see transparency in their operation as an enabler and not a barrier. Nelson demonstrated the highest standards of personal behaviour and this was a powerful driver of consistent delivery.

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


5 Reasons why Twitter is the next evolution in the democratisation of communication

As many of my friends and family will attest I am a dedicated supporter and active user of Twitter. If I needed any more excuses to use my Blackberry, Twitter has given them to me. Lots has been written about the Twitter phenomenon but I wanted to share why I think Twitter has a really good chance to be a communication channel of long-standing and power.

1. Twitter is the first “feed” of interesting Internet information and opinion that can be accessed with no technical expertise at all. Since using Twitter I am now learning and consuming much more insight from the web. Blogs, articles, comments, stats have all opened up to me since using Twitter. Following a Guy Kawasaki (@guykawasaki) or a Mashable (@mashable) (even if you follow no one else) is a brilliant source of some of the best the web can offer. Add in a Jonty Fisher (@jontyfisher) or a Dan Schawbel (@danschawbel) and you are building a pretty powerful set of insight about marketing and branding (my field). I don’t think I am a Luddite but I could never really get RSS feeds and such like to really work – Twitter users aggregate, edit, filter and share better than any technology.

2. Twitter is entirely non-hierarchical and democratic. Everyone is open to everyone (you can limit updates to only those that you select but not many people do this). I’ve had tweets replied to from Lily Allen (@lilyroseallen) and even got a reply from the great Guy Kawasaki (@guykawasaki). To give you an example last week I was watching BBC Breakfast News watching a really good segment by Ray Snoddy (@raymondsnoddy) on media and advertising. I idly (and somewhat cheekily) tweeted that Ray looked like he was wearing a wig. Within a few hours the tweet had reached him and I had a good humoured reply from the great man. This form of communication is powerful – I don’t need to search for his email address – or write him a letter – I am in touch with him because of the network in which we particpate. This democratisation of communication can be a powerful way to open up those in power whatever field they are in.

3. Twitter can give you insight into the lives of others. For example I follow my local MP and now the Minister for Transport Sadiq Khan (@sadiqkhan). Sadiq is a great example of a politician that is using Twitter to inform the man on the street (i.e. me) about what he is doing and the things he thinks are important. Throughout all this furore over MPs expenses and trust I’ve been really heartened to see Sadiq tweeting about what he thinks and sharing what he is doing. He works really hard (and seemingly all the time at this event or another) and I’m glad that I know this – it builds my trust in him.

4. Twitter can give many moments of pleasure connecting with real world friends across the world. When I first heard of Twitter I thought that knowing that Jon was eating a sandwich in Montreal would be an irrelevance and a waste of time. But actually now that I use Twitter one of the most powerful emotional benefits is knowing that my friend Tobias (@implant_direct) is enjoying a party in Zurich or Tom Farrand (@tomfarrand) has just had a great time kite surfing on the South Coast. These are vicarious moments of joy through Twitter that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

5. Twitter is take it or leave it communication. Lastly one of best things about Twitter, different from almost all other modes of communication, is that Twitter can be picked up or put down at will. A tweet, a direct message or a reply doesn’t need to be responded to instantaneously but it can be. That’s one of the best things about the channel – its so flexible. If you don’t want to tweet for a few days no one is going to accuse you of ignoring their voicemail, email or letter.

Twitter adds a lot to my life and I think it is a powerful new form of communication that has a lot of potential. So if you are a confirmed member of the Twit-sphere good for you; and if you are thinking of taking the plunge go for it.

As always please feel free to comment, share, RT, agree or disagree. Also follow me on twitter!

All the best,