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BBB Tip of the Week: All marketing begins with trust

All marketing begins with trust: Quick, which comes first – trust or likability? “They’re inseparable,” says author and consultant Michael Lovas, co-owner (with wife Pam Holloway) of the Spokane firm About People. “When you show you’re likable, people give you more time to demonstrate trustworthiness. Conversely, they must trust you before taking the leap of faith to like you. What’s the key? Safety. Consumers need to know they’re safe with you before they’ll pay attention to you.” 

The 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer asked the public how much they trusted institutions to do what’s right. The results:

• Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) —5 0 percent

• Business — 47 percent

• Media — 46 percent

• Government — 38 percent

And here are the results for the trust they place in various positions:

• People like myself — 65 percent

• Regular employees — 50 percent

• CEO — 38 percent

• Government officials — 29 percent

Which industry is most trusted? Edelman says it’s the technical sector, for the sixth year running. Which industry is trusted least? The financial sector, scoring even lower than in 2011. Where does your industry stand? Visit and go to the executive summary.

The good news: “Skills that demonstrate safety, and build trust and likability, can be learned,” Lovas says. For example, people naturally like others who seem familiar to them. ”It’s easy to show familiarity; just match the other person’s facial expressions. As for trust, people want proof instead of opinion. Win trust by substantiating your claims.”

Other ways to build trust could include joining a trusted organization like the Better Business Bureau or a professional organization in your industry. For more tips visit, and check out “Axis of Influence: How Credibility and Likeability Intersect to Drive Success” by Michael Lovas and Pam Holloway.

More info or report scams: Visit the BBB at Call (509) 455-4200 or (800) 356-1007.

By Holly Doering, BBB editor