Drive to Trust is CSRA’s new initiative for partnering with firms to build trust at scale. These daring organizations will learn how to change how they relate to people. They’ll learn how to interact to build trust, and they’ll become much, much more competitive.
Drive to Trust is not a business initiative: it’s a people initiative that has fantastic business benefits.
Need for Trust
While practicing and refining experiential social media since 2006, I’ve developed a reliable way to build trust at scale. Trust building in digital public is a new powerful, authentic way to strengthen businesses because it harmonizes with the digital empowerment of the people who are most important to firms—customers, employees, business partners, regulators, government officials, and their influencers. Trust building is the heart of successful initiatives in employee engagement and customer experience. I built the Social Channel App to explain why and how digital trust building works.
Trust builds strong businesses because people want to buy from them, to work with them, to support them. That means they have lower churn, less price/pay sensitivity, greater lifetime value, and many more good things. To earn such a prize, though, most firms have to make significant changes in how they relate to people, so people can trust them. Most businesses don’t realize it, but they are using outdated policies and processes that discourage people from trusting them.
Here’s the rub, though. You can’t ask people to trust you or coerce them—you have to trust them and give them the data that all people use to adjust their trust meters. I’ve discovered what that data is and how to use it to help people trust firms. This is the focus of experiential social media.
The stakes are huge. Gartner calls customer experience the final frontier of competitive advantage, but firms leave most of the money on the table by grounding their initiatives in traditional marketing, service and promotions that encourage people to mistrust them. The secret to improving customers’ and employees’ experiences is showing people that you trust them, not through words but through actions: all of their feelings about you change dramatically when they feel that you trust them. It’s the first step in helping them to trust you. Trust is the core of relationship and business. It is very hard for competitors to take away a trusted customer or employee from you.
I am well along to proving that trust-building outperformed traditional business sales and marketing, and Drive to Trust will take us further along. The USI case study tested experiential social media, and results show that ecommerce results increase significantly when social media teams trust and support people online without promoting the brand. People buy more when you don’t sell because selling decreases trust. Selling pushes people away.
Think about that a minute. Selling is a sacred cow of business, but I’ve learned that helping people in digital public drives revenue more than selling. Very simply, Serve, Don’t Sell.
Drive to Trust
Drive to Trust gives firms in different industries the chance to prove that experiential social media gets better results for them, too. Partner firms will learn how to activate the Trust Business Chain Reaction, which strengthens competitiveness and profit (or other business outcomes). When firms learn that they can be more competitive by serving, not selling, the world will change for the better. That’s Drive to Trust’s mission. And, although Drive to Trust has immense social benefits, it also builds stronger, more resilient, more profitable organizations and communities.
How It Works
- One partner per business segment can participate. CSRA’s aim is to prove that trust building has strong results for any commercial, nonprofit or government business (that involves people ;^).
- Each partner firm will work with CSRA on an experiential social media strategy that will recommend several pilots. CSRA will conduct the strategy with support from each partner.
- Then we’ll build a team with partner and CSRA people to conduct a three-month experiential social media pilot. Each pilot’s results will be quantitatively and qualitatively measured by experiential trust metrics and by its impact on traditional business outcomes (like USI’s ecommerce results).
- During pilots, CSRA team members will mentor partner teams on experiential interactions as well as state-of-the-art social media operations that boost efficiency.
- Then CSRA and partners will talk about results publicly to get the word out about the power of trust at scale. We’ll talk about the impact inside and outside each partner firm. Of course, partners will not have to disclose proprietary information, but the goal is to share results as openly as possible.
- Partners will be recognized for developing trust by their public actions, not mere PR style accolades.
- Partners will have the knowledge and tools to continue building experiential after the pilot.
What Each Partner Needs
- During the strategy, CSRA will conduct ethnographic research of social media to develop behavioral insights into partner firms’ most important people (customers, employees, channel, etc.). Partner sponsor executives will need to collaborate with CSRA to verify results.
- During the pilots, each partner will need to contribute 2-4 team members or equivalents to form an experiential team with CSRA teams. Partner team members can be chunked into small roles to maximize mentoring. Each pilot will require a manager and champion who will also participate in reporting calls or meetings to discuss results.
- Partners can maximize mentoring benefits if they have a private social network available, but this is not required.
- Partners will champion Drive to Trust and support CSRA in creating case studies and in discussing results with interested parties. They will also get their own versions of the case study.
- CSRA is supporting Drive to Trust by offering its services at a special rate.
How to Support Drive to Trust
- If you like what we’re doing, tell people about us. Use the sharing icons below, or just share our URL anywhere, anytime => http://drivetotrust.org
- If you know a person or a firm that might be a good partner, please share this page using the sharing icons below. The green one far right has many more options.
- If you’d like to explore being a partner, I’d be glad to share more about Drive to Trust with you in person, via video or phone call. Contact me to learn more.
- I also invite questions in comments below. Thanks in advance for your interest and support!
Who in the World?..
Many people ask me who makes a good partner for Drive to Trust. That’s a tough one: the whole point is to show that any business will be strengthened when it builds trust with its most important people. So I aim to build trust with firms of all shapes, sizes and colors. That said, here are some things I’ve noticed. Partners tend to…
- Think about the impact of trust and/or relationship on their businesses.
- Have (or have had) direct customer/member/constituent contact.
- Be more oriented to people, less to promotion.
- Be big picture people, think long-term, strategically.
- Be doing something new, pioneering, breaking their own trail.
- Know they have a trust problem; trust problems often look like: high churn, low share of wallet, low customer lifetime value, negative customer and employee reviews, high promotion cost.
- Be in turnaround situations; not business as usual.
- Be in serving organizations.
How Trust Works
My posts here have increasingly focused on trust during the past couple years. Here is a select list:
- How firms unknowingly discourage people from trusting them: Many Businesses Live in Fear—How to Break Free.
- Why firms need to stop thinking like businesses, and start thinking like people: On Human Experience.
- The breakthrough power of trusting customers: How Trusting Customers Drives Profit.
- How trust monetizes: The Trust Business Chain Reaction.
- The USI case study: slides or text (more detail).
- Short background on experiential social media.
- How we start building empathy and trust: Ethnographic Research of Social Media.