‘That means you have to be even more committed to not let the tiniest bit of complacency creep in.’
There is a great old quote from Einstein: ‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result’. But Michael says perhaps we should look at turning this on its head.
‘Perhaps the definition of insanity today is the opposite: it’s doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the same result,’ he says. ‘The days of expecting that the same sales techniques and that the same ways of approaching audiences will result in the same outcomes is obsolete.’
Michael believes businesses have to be aware that today’s consumers expect to be constantly informed of progress.
‘Trust is lost when people feel like they don’t have all the information they need to feel secure. They want to know where things are up to with their project. Where are we up to on budget? How far are we off important milestones? Finding ways to keep your customers in the loop along each step of the way is the key.’
Humble and hungry
According to Michael, who you are as a business, the all-important ‘character’ that defines you, plays just as heavily into building trust when it comes to consumer choice.
But identifying what your character, or in other words what your ‘brand’ represents, is a question that is fraught with more questions than answers in the mind of some business owners – especially when there is a fear that confidence will appear as arrogance.
For Michael the key is to stay humble and hungry. Humble in terms of, what do I not know yet? What do I need to learn? What are the skills I need to take on board?
‘Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less,’ he says. ‘Everyone as an individual or as a business owner is their own chief marketing officer. You have to find ideas that feel “you” – that don’t feel slick or smarmy or awkward. Find a way of communicating that fits in your boundaries.’
He adds that trust-based marketing is not about ‘look how good I am’ – it’s about ‘look how I add value, look what our clients are saying’.
‘This is the kind of marketing we all should be engaged in; and the good news is that it’s not the shameless kind of self-promotion that makes people feel uncomfortable.’