Business Systems Architect

How To Win Trust

Believability X (Proof + Brand) = Trust

Good copywriting is simply the perfect combination of the following three factors:

1. Attention
2. Lucrativeness of Offer expressed with Clarity
3. Trust

If you get the attention of the right people, make them a lucrative offer, and make sure they understand your well, then the job is still only half done. Because without trust, you are simply never going to make a sale.

Especially a big-ticket sale.

In this article, we are talking about trust, and how to get it.

Trust is easy to gain when your offer is similar to other offers in the marketplace. If others are offering a similar deal, then the reader believes you. The believability aspect is covered. Offer a token amount of proof, and they’ll trust you.

The problem with this approach is that if your offer is similar to everyone else’s, then you really don’t stand out. As we have already discussed, that’s never a good idea. For you won’t win their attention in the first place without offering them something new.

On the other hand, if you make outlandish claims… and if your offer sounds too good to be true, then your believability goes down the drain. The reader may pay attention, he may be fascinated, he may even want what you are selling, but he’ll never part with his money. Why? Because he simply does not believe you.

Sure, you have his attention, but you don’t have his trust.

So how do you solve this conundrum?

The answer is simple. And two pronged.

First, to get attention, make unique promises. Of course, your product or service better be able to deliver. And if you have the same old product that everyone else does, then what you have is a commodity, and this article, or any other discussion inside our community for that matter, is irrelevant for you.

So the first step is always going to be to get attention. That will inevitably drive the believability down.

Second, to combat a low believability score, leverage proof elements and the power of your brand.

Leveraging Proof Elements

Whenever you make a claim, prove it.

There are far too many ways to prove a claim. Let’s discuss some of the more potent ones.

You can have credible sources verify your claims. For instance, Warren Buffet’s recommendation for a financial product, or Bill Gates reassurance for a technology based product.

You can have customers and clients review you on credibly platforms, such as Yelp. People place a great deal of trust in other people’s recommendations. Even if they don’t know the reviewers personally. As long as the review is placed on a platform that is not easy to game, such as Yelp, people trust it. The more reviews you have, the better.

A live demonstration of a product is always a great idea. The believability of live demonstration is highest face to face. People tend to mistrust demonstration videos for they fear those might be doctored.

Strong guarantees most always work. Domino’s was built on the back of a strong guarantee, which ironically became their USP. “Fresh, hot pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less, or it’s free.”

Explaining the mechanism works well too. Generally this entails the use of the word “because”. “XYZ detergent gives you whiter than whites because it contains lime.”

Testimonials have historically had some effect on believability. Generally, the more details you include about the person testifying, the better it is. So for instance, Mark Bison the CEO of Kentucky Nibblets, Inc. is more believable than Mark B. from Kentucky.

But no matter how well these proof elements might work, they are merely brand-aid solutions for a much greater problem. And that problem is that you don’t have a brand.

See, it may not be credible when I say I’ll offer you the fastest computer on the planet that can render uncompressed 4k videos in live time. But if Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple says the same thing, you’ll just take his word.

Reputation Is Everything

Zeroth Law of Selling: It’s Not About What’s Being Sold Anymore, It’s About Who’s Selling It

A brand is far more powerful than proof elements. When a trusted and credible brand makes an outrageous claim, it’s hailed as a breakthrough by one and all. The CEO of the brand is hailed as a visionary. People line up to buy the new product or service.

On the other hand, when a relatively unknown company makes an outrageous claim, people often regard it with suspicion and disbelief. The product or service, no matter how revolutionary, has a hard time gaining acceptance and traction in the marketplace. People tend to stay away from it.

So let’s take a look at what creates and strengthens a brand.

Firstly, a brand is all about recall. A prior experience, or at least a frame of reference. Brand only exists in the minds of an audience. Consequently, it can not exist if nobody’s heard the name of the company or the brand before.

Secondly, it’s about reputation. If people believe that you provide the best service or have the highest quality products, then they’ll be happy to pay a premium for your products or services. Similarly, if they believe if you treat your customers, clients, employees and other stakeholders well, then they’ll be happy to give you their loyal patronage If you have a reputation for being fair, then you’ll be treated fairly.

If you have a reputation for constantly innovating, then even your unbelievable claims will ring true. Simply because people identify a pattern of innovation.

Thirdly, brand is about simplicity. What’s Domino’s? Pizza. What’s Coca Cola? Soft drink. What’s Subway? Sandwiches. What’s Warren Buffet? Investment. What’s Nokia? Cellphones. What’s iPhone? Cellphone. What’s Jack Daniels? Whiskey. What’s Smirnoff? Vodka. What’s Ferrari? Premium Sports Car. What’s Xerox? Photocopy.

All these words are brands, and they are powerful brands.


Because they represent something particular. Domino’s represents pizza. Domino’s isn’t ketchup. Domino’s isn’t cheese. Domino’s is just Pizza.

Clarity X Reputation = Brand

You need two things in concurrence to create a brand.

Firstly, you need to have clarity. Be clear about what your brand represents. Make it simple. Make it unique.

Don’t try to create a Pizza company today. Domino’s, Pizza Hut and Papa John’s already have that market captured. If you are selling pizza, sell gourmet pizza. There is no established brand in that market. So go for it. Go for it with a premium experience, and a premium price point. Everything you do should be in line with a premium restaurant catering gourmet food.

But don’t try to stand for more than one keyword in your audience’s mind. You can’t be both a gourmet pizza restaurant and a cheap pizza takeout joint under the same brand name. Those are polar opposites.

Sure you can own two separate brands. One might represent premium gourmet pizza dining experience. The other would be cheap takeout pizza. These ought to be different brands. Don’t confuse your audiences.

Secondly, constantly work on strengthening your brand’s reputation. Guard it with your life. Sacrifice short-term profitability if you must, but never compromise on reputation.

Whatever you are known for, make sure you are constantly known for that.

If you are selling gourmet pizza, you have no business offering discount vouchers to attract customers. You have no business making people wait an hour after they place their order before you serve them. You really have no business selling cold storage pizza. And most importantly, you should not be serving them unhygienic, or bland pizza. They are there for the taste, the ambience, the nutrition. Deliver. And deliver consistently.

And while you are at it, make sure they talk about it too. Make it easy for them to like your Facebook page. And to leave a comment. And to sign in using Facebook and Yelp. Encourage them to leave a Yelp review.

Remember, whatever’s invisible is akin to never having been done.

You can serve the best pizza in the world, and you can serve it in the best atmosphere, but if nobody knows about it, it’s as good as never having started that business in the first place.

Advertise your Yelp page once you get reviews there. Invite wealthy people who live nearby and treat them to a free dinner. This is very different from offering a discount coupon. Offer them a free dinner, and then go all out. Give them the same experience that they’d get when they were paying for it. It’s a treat, not a discount voucher. You’ll spend a little bit of money, but you’ll gain loyal clients for many, many years to come.

Come to think of it…

Apple’s WWDC Is A Big Advertisement

That’s what it is. They’ll invite thousands of people. Hundreds of bloggers and professional Youtubers. They’ll invite people from media, and from a whole host of industries. And then they’ll do a keynote about their latest product in front of a packed room. People who’ll immediately go and start talking about the newest version of iPhone. Reviews, comments, opinions, comparisons, good, bad, everything.

Visibility is more important than anything else here. It’s the amplifier. If this article doesn’t get read by more than a handful of people, what’s the value it brings to the world? On the other hand, if I ensure that hundreds of thousands of people will read it, it’ll create a far bigger brand impact for me.

Once your brand is firmly entrenched in the minds of your audience, you’ll enjoy a far greater degree of trust than any proof elements can offer.

The stronger the brand, the lesser the need for proof elements. In fact, when you have a very strong brand, offering up too many proof elements can make you look insecure.

Therefore, over the long term, focus on strengthening the brand.

Oh, and one last postulate…

The Conception of Multiple Brands

Warren Buffet owns Berkshire Hathaway. Berkshire owns stock in many companies including Coca Cola, Washington Post and Gillette. But these are all separate brands

Warren Buffet is a brand. He is a master investor.

Berkshire is a brand. It’s the company with the most expensive stock in the stock market. The brand is known for never giving out dividends. But primarily, Berkshire is a holding company.

Coca Cola is a separate brand. Many people don’t know Coca Cola is owned to a certain extent by Berkshire, and therefore, Buffet.

Spite is a different brand. It’s owned by Coca Cola. But the branding isn’t confusing. Coca Cola is the reddish-black one. Sprite is the colorless one.

Lexus is owned by Toyota. But Toyota and Lexus are separate brands.

BMW owns Rolls Royce. Yet BMW is a middle class car, and Rolls is an elite car. These are separate brands. Most people don’t know. Most people don’t care. Most people don’t need to know.

Nokia is owned by Microsoft. So is Skype. But Skype, Microsoft and Nokia are all separate brands. Windows OS is a product offered by Microsoft. It’s a separate brand. Bill Gates is a separate brand. He’s a celebrity.

The point I am making is this…

You can certainly have a separate brand as a celebrity, as a company, and as various products within the company.

As long as the brand is simple to understand, it doesn’t matter who owns what.

All the examples presented above are good ones. There are bad ones too. Ford comes to mind. What’s Ford? It’s a car company with no majority marketshare in any segment. What is Ford? Is it a car? If so, is it a Sedan, a Hatchback, an SUV? Big car or small car? This is a confusing brand.

Tesla on the other hand, is great. Elon Musk is a smart man. He’s smart enough not to have named his car PayPal car. (For reference, Elon Musk is the founder of PayPal, and also of the automatically driven Tesla cars)

He didn’t confuse the brands.

PayPal is an online payment processing and facilitation company. The largest one, owing to being the first brand. Largest brands are often the first ones. Tesla is separate. It’s a car. It’s an automatically driven car. I predict that if he is able to get these cars working, Tesla is going to have the largest marketshare in the driverless cars in the future.

Remember, as we progress through the information age, it is no longer about what’s being sold. It’s all about who’s selling. And the smallest player can make a huge dent.

Just how you take on a market with a tiny marketing budget is a topic covered on another day.

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