Trust in the digital era - why is it so relevant?

 

I believe that our personal paths of trust which we gain by experience have been marked since the moment we were born.  Step by step, those paths of trusting or being trusted have been growing in our further stages of life through interactions within our cultural and social surroundings. We learn to identify and apply our trusting behaviors in all aspects of life from family, friends to workplace, community, or just a simple choice of the place you want to go out and enjoy some food later. You might be curious about the restaurant your friend has told you: “The food there is so great, you should try it”. Well, that’s the power of trust and it guides us to make various decisions in the daily life. 

Trust is both an emotional and logical act. (Changing Minds, u.d., s. 1)

I perceive trusting as an individual characteristic from which each person interprets and applies in different ways. This personal trust is continuously evolving and adapting based on our experiences. In other words, our trust process might be challenged, re-affirmed or disrupted by our everyday experiences but gradually it will shape our decision-making.

It comes to my mind that my grandmother often said: ”Dios los hace y ellos solitos se juntan” which means: God creates them and then they get together by themselves. I heard this phrase when playing with my friend as a kid, but now I see it in a simplistic way which can be applied in our daily lives.  Because we do tend to look for common values and trust behaviors, it can be reflected that groups of people who experience trust in a common way are likely to make similar decisions. But let me just emphasize that each person still has an individual interpretation of “trust” and this interpretation might be completely or partly like other individuals. However, how can we identify groups of people with similar individual trust behaviors? In a future post I will explain why I believe this is a major shift on how we segment potential clients, but now let’s continue with our current subject.

So far, we have been maturing our trust paths in the industrialized era, but since the appearance of digitalization all aspects of our life has changed significantly. This new digital era not only represents a big revolution but also reforms our previously learned paths of trust and being-trusted behaviors. In today’s world, our previously learned trust paths are not entirely “up-to date”. Instead, we are now shifting into trusting the “unknown” which can be any people, companies or ideas based on their accountability or as more popular referred: digital reputation.

Digital reputation can be described as "the result of the relative proximity of three factors to one another, as follows: who you ARE, who YOU SAY you are, who PEOPLE SAY you are”. (Social Digital Mentors, Social-digital-mentors.eu)

Now let’s put our concept in the organizational context.  What does it take for a company to be trusted in a digital era? There are many relevant studies and scientific research on this topic, but in general, the tendency or common ground focuses on these three main characteristics: legitimacy, effectiveness and transparency. We can discuss further each of these characteristics, but to be concise, I want to express this as the “Magic key for digital trust” which is:

“As a company you need to take the Trust Leap first.”

So you might ask, “What is a Trust Leap?”. Well, a trust leap happens when we take the risk to do something new or different from the way we usually do it.  Also, bearing in mind that innovation plays a crucial role as a fundamental aspect in today’s digital era organizations.

But do organizations really need to take the Trust leap and move into the digital era?

The simple answer is: YES ….

 And it’s so because you, as an individual, has already taken the trust leap into the Digital Era and even more than what you might recognize.

Let’s put this affirmation of the Trust Leap into a test and see if you are a risk taker - a person who is innovative and trust the unknown paths of the digital era. Yes, I know, those strong words may sound not true for everyone?

“Do you remember the first time you put your credit card details into a website or the first time you did your electronic banking?” Well that’s a clear Trust Leap, which, in fact, was first originated by the company who took the Trust Leap into the digital era. In other words, you completely trusted this company and you have taken a remarkable Trust Leap.

Knowing that

  1. you are remarkable with taking Trust Leaps
  2. that trust is transferred in the digital era; and (3) that the digital trust is all about individual accountability, we now understand why this chain effect of digital trust is unstoppable in our society and why a company which embrace the “Trust leap” and operates with legitimacy, effectiveness and transparency is in advantage.

Ask yourself: “Will you trust a bank which has no digital banking services?”

Then let’s point out why is so relevant? With devices connecting every aspect of consumers’ lives, the shift to a new, connected world signals a new era transition. The latest Digital Consumers Surveys, indicates that consumers shift to the use of smart devices is increasingly relevant to their lives. These aspects inspire a new world of possibilities in todays connected world, but to gain the consumer trust companies need to break through an increasingly crowded market place thought innovation and offer a phenomenal customer experience with security and privacy that will inspire costumer trust.

The aim of Digital Trust is to shift from inspiration to confidence in your Company, now is the time to reinvent your execution strategies and be digitally transformed.

 

Jesus Escandon