This post is part of our Weekly Tips series.

Vintage Open Sign

A colleague recently sent me a photograph of an ad from a magazine in India (thank you, Sumesh). It’s for a cellular carrier. I was floored by it because it’s rife with compelling trust-building lessons.

How many can you find?

Cuddly Teddy Bear
“OPEN QUESTIONS. Sometimes a big step starts with an open question. We asked ourselves two. Are we the best network we could possibly be? Honestly and humbly, No. Do we want to get there? Fervently and definitely, Yes. So for starters, we’ve decided to become India’s first Open Network. Which means you have open access to our tower maps, our internet strength, our strong signal zones and our weak spots. Not just in your state or city but right down to where you live. So please judge us, question us, tell us where we’re going wrong and partner us [sic] in getting it right. Because the truth is, you know what you need far better than we know what you need. And if we want you to open up to us, we have to start by opening up to you. So we’re starting with two simple words. QUESTIONS OPEN.”

Here’s what I see:

  • Honesty. They’re admitting they’re not the best.
  • Passion. They fervently want to be the best.
  • Transparency. They’re offering open access for customers (and competitors) to things that most cellular carriers keep under wraps.
  • Other focus. “You know what you need far better than we know what you need.”
  • Reciprocity. “If we want you to open up to us, we have to start by opening up to you.” This might be my favorite part. It’s such a simple and profound trust lesson.
  • Courage. Refer to all of the above.

What do you see?

Make It Real

This week, look around. Learn from advertisements—print, TV, internet. Which ones are templates for trust-building and why? How might you adopt what you see to better connect with your audiences?

Learn More

Speaking of ads, read a dramatic story about how one advertising agency created a compelling campaign based on trust, or brush up on the trust principles in Chapter 4 of The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook.

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Andrea Howe

As the founder of The Get Real Project, I am the steward of our vision and our service offerings, as well as a workshop leader and keynote speaker. Above all else, I am an entrepreneur on a mission: to kick conventional business wisdom to the curb and transform how people work together as a result. I am also the co-author, with Charles H. Green, of The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook (Wiley, 2012).