The Power of Trust and Your Marketing

The Power of Trust and Your Marketing

Or, how not to blow seventy year’s worth of trust and wreck a brand.

Crazed shoppers snatched at vacuum cleaner handles as if their lives depended on them. Stores around the country were in mayhem making for top stories on the nightly news. No, it wasn’t Black Friday at Walmart, but the excitement of getting two free tickets to fly to America was more than most of the shoppers could take. With pulses racing they rushed to the checkouts with visions of their upcoming vacations playing over and over again in their heads.

Now, instead of vacuum cleaners, imagine your products or services going viral on social media, and how you’d celebrate that. Then imagine losing nearly all your customers and selling your company off at a fraction of what it was worth the year before.

Hold on to that image because we’ll be coming back to it.

In the meantime let me ask you a question –

Do you buy from people that you don’t trust?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that you don’t!

As business owners, one of the hardest things to earn is our customers’ trust. In fact, we have to spend time building up our Know, Like and Trust (KLT) Factor.

One of the fastest ways to build up that factor is to use video in your marketing. I used to really dislike the idea of doing video for my business – it seemed like I had to do so many takes and then I still had editing to do after that. And the end result wasn’t something I was particularly impressed with!

If you’ve done video for your business, you may have felt that way too.

But then came live video on Facebook. That revolutionized my video marketing.

The beauty of live video is such that it doesn’t matter if you make mistakes, it’s like reality TV– well kind of, because reality TV is pretty staged. But it gives the viewer a way to feel like they know you better, faster.

But this post isn’t about doing live video – I’ll leave that for another one. What I want to talk about is Trust.

As I mentioned earlier, it takes a long time to build up trust. There are different factors in a buying equation, but if you have someone’s trust, you can make some impressive sales numbers.

Still holding onto the image of crazy shoppers and their vacuum cleaners?


You see back in the early 90’s the vacuum company Hoover did a promotion that sunk their European division.

How the mighty had fallen.

For nearly 100 years in the United Kingdom Hoovers had reigned supreme amongst vacuum cleaners. So much so that “to vacuum” was called, “to do the hoovering.” Their brand was that strong, just like Kleenex became the substitute word for tissues in the US.

With a decline in sales, Hoover came up with a rejuvenating promotion: Give away two flight tickets to Europe with the purchase of a vacuum (or washing machine) of £100 or more.

The promotion was a fabulous success and, as you can imagine, sales rose once again.

Riding on a wave of success, Hoover decided on doing a second, even more tantalizing promotion. They went against the advice of risk assessment managers and upped the ante with their new offer.

This time it was two free flights to the United States with the purchase of a vacuum or washing machine of £100 or greater.

What resulted was a loss of £50 million and the closure of Hoover in Europe.

Hoover UK made some grave errors. (Tell me about it, Fran!)

The first one was not listening to the risk assessors.

The second error was the promotion was too dang good and hot on the heels of the previous one – the second one even contained text reminding folks to claim on the first promo! What?!


The third error was fueled by Pride. Hoover’s decision makers’ numbers were based on the false assumption that the people taking part in the new promotion actually wanted a new vacuum cleaner or washing machine. In fact, Hoover believed that they would buy a more expensive item than the base model and that would offset the expense of the promotion.


You see, most people had done the math and realized that they could fly to the US for cheap by merely paying for the most inexpensive model and sending in a claim. It turned out the claim process was long and drawn-out. It involved jumping through several crazy, challenging and even obnoxiously derailing hoops that Hoover had set up to make receiving the tickets about as fun as vacuuming your house non-stop for a few weeks.

That wasn’t enough to create Hoover’s fall from grace, however. The nail in their coffin was their refusal to give the tickets to people who jumped through the hoops. Legal action helped somewhat, but at the end of the debacle, there were over a quarter of a million people that never got their flights – left with just their dreams of crossing the Atlantic for a mere £55 per person, return.

So the lesson of all of this is don’t do what Hoover did! Seriously listen to your paid advisors – if you’re paying them and they say no to your ideas you may want to rethink things. Only run a promotion you can definitely deliver on. And don’t make assumptions about the quality of your products/ services in combination with your promo.

Building trust means that you do what you say you’re going to do, so if you can’t deliver on your promises, then don’t make them in the first place.

And in today’s social media-driven world, how do you think Hoover (worldwide) would have ever recovered their trust after that stunt?

They wouldn’t.

Bringing this message home –

Trust is even harder to build in today’s world, so take some time and think about how you build trust with your customer base now and how you can take proactive steps to keep building it long-term. If you have trust as an advantage, you can run circles around your competition and still have time to do the vacuuming!

If you’re having a hard time building trust and making sales with your photography business, then let’s start a conversation to see if I can help you. An introductory call is just a click away.

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