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The Trust Economy


In the digital space, trust is everything. It is an economy based on connections, where social capital matters. Brands with more inbound links from credible sources tend to have more visibility and social capital. And the more earned trust through “credible links”, the more growth.  

This market dynamic not only keeps digital brands honest, it also pushes brands to build relationship in a more gradual and sustainable manner. Digital brands are born with the promise that they are not perfect and need customers’ feedback to shape their development. This is why they are in constant beta.

We are currently going through a start-up tech boom. These start-ups tend to have a meaningful mission that solves a problem for the community better than existing alternatives. Nothing more, nothing less. Often, the primary goal is not to make money. If we look at the most of the successful digital brands (e.g., Facebook, Groupon, YouTube…), they are still wrestling to make a profit. And the ones that are profitable (e.g., Amazon) have been many years in the making.

Digital brands also tend to launch with one or two founders and limited funding. As a result, their plan is to grow slowly through word of mouth/links. This development process is no different from the offline world. Trust takes time. It does not happen from one day to another. Trust requires nurturing, ongoing collaboration, reliability and respect.

As tech start-ups become more prominent in the market, they are also influencing how all of us need to approach marketing. Today’s marketplace – whether digital of brick and mortar – emphasizes earning trust rather than buying relationships.

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