How to build trust in a digital economy

At the heart of building relationship lies the currency of relationships – trust.

Relationships are built on trust and destroyed when trust is broken. So, our role as a brand or business in the digital economy is to build trust with our audience, which in turn leads to relationship building, brand love and advocacy.

There is a simple formula for trust, developed by Charles H. Green, which I have tested and applied to a number of consumer brand and B2B environments. Each time it helps highlight the gaps in a sales and marketing and what we need to focus on to build more trust.


  • Credibility has to do with the words we speak. In a sentence, we might say, “I can trust what she says about intellectual property; she’s very credible on the subject.”
  • Reliability has to do with actions. We might say, “If he says he’ll deliver the product tomorrow, I trust him, because he’s dependable.”
  • Intimacy refers to the safety or security that we feel when entrusting someone with something. We might say, “I can trust her with that information, she’s never violated my confidentiality before, and she would never embarrass me.”
  • Self-orientation refers to a person’s focus. In particular, whether the person’s focus is primarily on him or herself, or on the other person. We might say, “I can’t trust him on this deal — I don’t think he cares enough about me, he’s focused on what he gets out of it.” Or more commonly, “I don’t trust him — I think he’s too concerned about how he’s appearing, so he’s not really paying attention.”

To apply this formula in a simple way, score your brand, or ask your customers to, on a scale of 1-10 on each of the four variables, then calculate your score. Identify the areas you can improve on and develop tactics to improve your score.

Online Marketing that builds trust:

Building Trust: PR

PR helps to break past your existing communities that know who you are and find new customer prospects. PR builds the credibility of your brand, and with a consistent strategy, it will provide a continued sense of reliability for the business. PR also dovetails nicely with your SEO strategy to provide quality backlinks to your website.\

Building Trust: SEO

A Good ranking gives the perception of a credible and reliable business. Ranking well naturally attributes this perception to your brand. Therefore, it’s essential to do whatever is possible to improve your search rankings on essential keywords that your business needs to rank.

Proving to Google that you are worthy of a good ranking means showing them you are the most relevant result for the search terms you hope to attain. You’ll do this by optimising your website with on-page SEO and off-page SEO.

Building Trust: Content Marketing

Remember that content should present you as credible, reliable, personable and make the customer the hero, not you or the business.  Remember that people are different and therefore like to consume content in different ways. Make sure you deliver various types of content to meet your audience in the way they prefer. The content you could consider are:

  • Webinars
  • Live Video Presentations
  • Videos – long and short form
  • Infographics
  • White papers
  • Article and Blogs
  • Podcasts
  • Events
  • Social Media Content
  • Writing a book

Building Trust: Events

Events are a great way to create a more personal and intimate relationship with prospective customers. Additionally, virtual events, are becoming more accessible and acceptable in the B2B landscape. One way to make the most of events is to combine it into your content strategy and broaden its reach by:

  • Recording the event and providing it online for prospects to watch
  • Share social media content before, during and after the event
  • Collate the learnings of the conference into a blog post or white paper to share with prospects.

Building Trust: Advertise

The more people consuming the content you produce, the more people are being brought into your community which builds your brands awareness. This, in turn, gives you a powerful platform to guide prospects through the customer journey from awareness to consideration to sale. Advertising your content drives exponentially more significant access to audiences.

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