Trust is a critical part of every successful marketing equation. Why is this the case? Having the customers’ trust means that they take you seriously, are able to believe what you say, and allow themselves to be convinced by you. Or, to put it another way, lack of trust would mean that no matter what your message is, the customers are likely to remain unaffected by it, because they don’t believe what you’re saying.
If you read the Big Marketing Insider, you’re probably familiar with the concept of the Trust Triangle. The triangle is meant to break down all the components that go into the type of successful marketing message that builds customer trust and has a maximum impact on the audience.
The Trust Triangle is based on the concepts of logos, ethos, and pathos, which originate from ancient philosopher Aristotle’s rhetorical triangle. Following the Trust Triangle and having an equal balance of its three components will create a well-rounded brand image that will give you positive results in any marketing medium: on your website, your blog, social media, web search, in person, and in print advertising.
Here are the three components of the Trust Triangle, and what they mean:
Common Sense of Purpose
Related to Aristotle’s logos, or logic, common sense of purpose relates to the logical reasons why the customer should choose your product. Usually, you can fulfill this part of the Trust Triangle by clearly outlining your argument about why your product or service is the one the customer should buy. To do this effectively, you need to know your customers well. If you do, you’ll be able to understand what reasons are convincing to them, and then state these reasons explicitly in your message. The customers have a problem, you have a solution—that’s a good start for your common sense of purpose.
Related to ethos, or credibility, competence means that the customer sees you as someone with experience and knowledge they can trust. Whenever we talk about the importance of content creation, we always remind you that it’s a great way to establish yourself as an expert in your field. This, in turn, gives you credibility in the eyes of the customer. If the customer sees you as competent, then he or she will likely trust your company and be willing to give it a chance.
Related to pathos, or emotion, character appeals to the emotions of the customer and determines how they feel about your company. Some customers value uniqueness; others value reliability. Whatever character you go with, the key here is authenticity—the customer needs to believe in your character, and for that, your character needs to be well-rounded and match your overall brand image. The Brand Positioning Story is actually a great way to achieve a well-rounded character, because it helps to unify your brand guidelines, from colors and logos, to word choice and language tone.
Last but not least, don’t forget about the shape of the Trust Triangle. In a triangle, each of the three sides is of equal importance and in balance with the others. In the same way, the three concepts above all have to be present, and have to be in balance with each other to produce a marketing message that builds customer trust.