Truth, Transparency & Trust
Truth and transparency are essential to building trust. However, these three T’s get lost all too quickly behind industry jargon, bad PR or even worse, no PR at all, and your brand enters nightmare territory.
While few climb out of this death zone, it’s better to avoid it completely. So, before you spend another dollar on TV spots, expensive blog posts, Facebook ads or billboards, read this: stop.
Nobody can see you. Why? Because you and every other company in your industry are all doing the same thing.
Imagine you’re in a Where’s Waldo book. Why are millions of people searching for Waldo? He’s just another human amongst a vast crowd. However, he’s wearing a red shirt. He’s doing something radically different. In order to become Waldo, you need to start podcasting.
Alright, now that we’ve gotten everyone to notice you, it’s time to make them trust you. And here’s why podcasting becomes the most effective red shirt you’ve ever worn.
What does Waldo have to do with Trust?
With information at consumers’ fingertips, they aren’t interested in the celebrity who was paid to say things, nor do they trust your statistics or flowery words. They do their own research, fact-finding or asking friends, investigating their favorite social media influencers’ product choices, etc.
What they’re really looking for is the human behind it all. A human behind your brand that they trust, because they are just like them. They’re looking for Waldo. And once they find Waldo, they want to hear what Waldo has to say.
In fact, more and more people are turning to podcasts to find Waldo. According to Edison Research, podcasting is rising steadily, with monthly listeners growing from 21% to 24% year over year. As the demand increases, this nascent industry is happy to supply, with a job growth rate of 33%.
For reference, this 33% is compared to the advertising industry’s growth rate of approximately 7%… Now you know why I said “stop” earlier.
The Why behind Waldo’s Red Shirt
Through podcasting, you’re able to carefully craft your message to your target audience in a way that is transparent and personable. Cultivating trust is a natural byproduct of effective podcasting because you are able to combat sources of distrust in a timely manner. You can go in surgically to specific topics that are preventing your audience from trusting you and address them personally, with intimate details that may shock them at one moment, and then warm their heart the next. This precision is impossible to accomplish through any other medium.
Specifically, it’s hard to fake it on a podcast. As people listen to you minute after minute on each episode, week after week on each season, they will either grow to trust you or leave you, based on who you are. You can’t hide on a podcast. Remember, you’re Waldo.
In the Harvard Business Journal’s “Decision to Trust,” Robert F. Hurley outlines the human needs that must be recognized and addressed, in order to build a platform for trust.
I’m going to discuss them in three parts as they relate to podcasting.
Risk Tolerance, Security, Predictability & Integrity:
By understanding your audience’s risk tolerance, you are able to effectively create security by delivering with predictability and integrity. These three points make the case for discussing your brand, product or services, in light of concerns your audience may have. Take the time to understand what is preventing leads from converting to customers, and then address them specifically.
Make changes to your business if necessary, and let your listeners know that you hear them. Share why your company does things a certain way, to give your listeners a new perspective, and give concrete examples of how your core values influence your everyday business decisions and company culture.
“Underpromise and overdeliver” is a commonly touted commandment in our life hacker, 5-steps to success, instant gratification world, but when it comes to the actual podcast, this is key. While the content should showcase how your company is striving for excellence and disrupting norms, don’t bite off more than you can chew when it comes to the schedule of the episodes. Your listeners are loyal, in fact, podcasts are the number one audio source by time of consumption among podcast listeners. Be predictable, and make sure your episodes are completed and posted according to schedule for your listeners. That being said, a podcast’s unique platform for transparency gives you an escape clause. When things get too crazy, tell your audience why in the next episode. They might send you flowers or chocolate or just a thoughtful email. Seriously.
Level of Adjustment, Relative Power & Benevolent Concern:
Your listener’s level of adjustment is similar to risk tolerance but requires more than just putting their mind at ease with your clearly defined solutions. This takes time and patience, and often more in-depth details to make them feel like they truly have the full picture. To do so, create a bridge of relative power by explaining your leadership structure in depth and outlining your motivations for why certain decisions are made. Showcase your benevolent concern by illustrating how you serve your clients and the fair processes that you support, live and work by.
This is where transparency and truth become the real deal breakers. Discussing these sorts of insider nuts and bolts may seem like you’re revealing too much. You are. But that’s what podcasting is all about. It’s storytelling at its finest.
Finding Similarities, Capability & Level of Communication:
Now that you’re in the podcast space, and you can stop worrying about differentiating yourself from your competitors (that’s a story for another time), it’s time to start finding the similarities with your audience. Through a podcast, you are able to personally relate to listeners on shared values, interests and goals. As your similarities become evident, your audience realizes you align with their vision and trust blooms. Giving your listeners insider information and business transparency is a strong start, but highlighting testimonials and offering value-packed answers is a real testament to your capability.
Share your expertise, and your generosity and authority will receive major legitimacy points. Building your relationship with your audience through consistent, intentional give and take, improves your level of communication. Answering or addressing questions from your listeners shows you are listening to their concerns or feedback. Remember, you are not just generating content. You are building a relationship and eventually trust.
Give the Red Shirt a Try
Now you can see why podcasting is quickly becoming one of the best platforms for brands to connect with their audience on. And yet, the market has untapped potential and comparatively infinite growth to that of the crowded visual digital space.
Not only does it put you in a red shirt and make you more searchable, it is innately designed to build trust: the very root of your company’s success.
So, Waldo. What’s your story? Why are you wearing a red shirt? I’m waiting. Tell me.