How a new brand can gain trust

This post by Seth Godin got me thinking about how to generate trust when we are a new brand or startup on the block. Here is what I think:

Building trust is simple. Create stories by doing things which exceed expectations. One customer at a time. When we do it, they share their good fortune to have done business with us. Trust never comes from the brand owner, but the interactions with the brand recipients. They then deliver that trust to others who buy the brand off them metaphorically. Thought they’d get X and they got X+1. They tell people about their win. We win by being generous.

Startup blog says: Generosity is the fulcrum of trust.


The first 10

When we build our next project we should only worry about the first 10.

The first 10 people we tell.

These first 10 people are people that we know, people that like us, trust us and value our opinion. If they don’t tell anyone, we need to start again. Re-build our project, or find another one. But if they tell another 5. And then that 5 tell another 3. Then we can be pretty sure that it is start start of work that matters. Work that people need.

At the start of our next launch we should really think hard about these three words: the first 10.


Entropy & business

The scientifically minded readers of this blog will be more familiar with the law of entropy than the business minded. The law of entropy defined from a physics viewpoint is heavy in maths and description. But from a social perspective the concept of entropy is generally used as a metaphor for chaos, disorder. They way I’d describe it is like this:

Unless we attend to stuff and maintain it, it will naturally fall apart.

We see this every day with old houses and cars. Unless they are attended to frequently, they just fall apart. What we don’t do is take the analogy as deep as we should into the businesses we run. They too require constant attention just to maintain the status quo. To grow, requires extra attention above ‘maintenance levels’. The problem with startups is that we are so focused on gaining initial traction and momentum that we forget about the upkeep. We are so focused on the next win, improvement or iteration, that we forget to check the stuff we’ve already done, built or created. And so it can start to fall apart without us really noticing. In some ways the most important innovation we can make is maintenance.

Lesson: If we don’t maintain what we already have, then the new stuff we introduce will end up being zero sum game.


Brands that have fun – Toyota Prius

There’s something about brands that know how to have fun. I reckon the Toyota Prius fits in this category. Their recent advertisement asking the crowd to work out the plural version of the word Prius is very catchy. (I’m a long time jingle lover). It’s also a cool way to build some anticipation and awareness of the new range

Is your brand having fun?



One Downsmanship – John’s phone

The myriad of tablet and smart phone launches recently seems like a race of one upsmanship which inevitably leads to total confusion. Occasionally something really stands out. In the sea of features, occasionally one product makes you stop and take notice. On this occasion it is because it does less. I like to call it one downsmanship.

Introducing John’s Phone.

It makes and takes calls. That’s it. It’s so simple Alexander Graham Bell would know how to use it. It does have a quirky ‘analogue’ way of storing numbers, sending messages and playing games which you’ll see in the photo essay below. To me that adds some charm and talkability. At $110 it’s not exactly cheap – but it can be bought outside of contract.  As entrepreneurs the question we should be asking ourselves is this:

“How can we do less, to stand out more?”


100,000 eyeballs for $8

If you want to know how to get your brand exposed to 100,000 people for $8 then we need look no further than what David did.

You may remember this post where David go his Jarritos soft drink van all branded up. Well, he took the next step in exposure and got to the AFL grand final early for a front row car park near the MCG for a measly $8. As far as I can tell it’s one of the greatest media investments of all time – there were 100,000 people in attendance. See photo journal below. Great startup bootstrapping David.