After studying dozens of books on trust and defining the building blocks of trust from them, I was eager to put these insights to use. As the head of a digital agency with new website projects all the time, it was obvious to incorporate this as a key component in the workshops with my clients. There are comprehensive kick-off workshops and often separate content creation workshops for the website.
The purpose of such a kick-off workshop is to get to know each other well. As an agency, we, in particular, need to learn everything we can from the customer. We often take a tour of the company beforehand or on the same day. We want to know everything about the current situation and future plans. Where does the company stand, who are the competitors, what are the biggest challenges, what are the goals for the coming years? How is the brand composed, what is the corporate design, what other advertising materials? Most importantly, who are the customers and other target groups? What are the priorities? How can they be characterized? What is their buying process like? All this information flows into the website project.
Either on the same day or in a separate workshop, we then start designing the content modules. So what should be where on the site? According to the priorities, the first content modules are defined and applied to the start page and other important page types.
For the vast majority of our customers, the topic of new customer acquisition is clearly the number one priority. Exceptions confirm the rule. I remember well working with a management consultancy. They told us that the website was there exclusively for the acquisition of new employees, they had enough customers. That may happen, but it is the total exception. Even though it is becoming more and more important to find good employees, new customers are usually even more important. I then like to have the individual priorities defined from a pot of 100%. For new customers, the result is rarely less than 70%, leaving a maximum of 30% for employees, journalists, service providers and the wider public.
So we look at what is important for new customers. The issue of trust usually plays a major role in this all by itself. I then started to simply go through the trust building blocks one by one and ask the employees present what they could think of from their company. With around 10 main points and about 20 sub-points, that’s always a lot. What expertise is there in the company? What experience in each area? How does the passion shown in product development and service? What values does the company stand for? Oops, that’s where it often starts to get a lot thinner. Years ago, someone wrote something in an image brochure. We’ll have to look it up. No idea what it said. I’ve often had experiences like that. That is a great pity. The development of meaningful and meaningful values in a company can be an immensely helpful guide for every individual in everyday life. And it’s also motivating to know that you’re working for a company that behaves honestly, closely, and loyally, for example, not just on paper but in a very real and tangible way in everyday life. Or creative, individual, and open to everything new. Or highly innovative, lateral thinking, and oriented towards top performance. Three very different types of companies. I always find it nice when I hear such value frameworks and can directly understand them from the external view of the company.
This is just one example of how the trust building blocks quite often encourage people to think about important things in the company. I have always found it enriching when entrepreneurs are open to this. In everyday life, this has always led to an extra round of discussions — either in-house or with our support.
Over time, I have expanded the analysis of the individual trust building blocks. When it comes to passion in the company, for example, I ask about attention to detail. That’s often where the best stories come out. Every company that operates successfully works with passion in its business. This is particularly easy to observe in family-run companies. I remember well the workshop at a manufacturer of electronic components. The founder and boss is an engineer himself. When I asked him about his passion, he didn’t say much at first. Can an engineer be passionate? Oh yes. And how. When I asked about attention to detail, the gentlemen (in this industry with a very large share) were unstoppable.
A case in point was the story of the employee who sat for weeks just working on increasing the efficiency of a tiny magnet (one part of about 200 in the component) by 2%. A huge effort for a small yield, which was not only tolerated by the boss but praised in the highest tones. In the sum of many small optimizations, which are hardly noticed by the large worldwide competitors, it led to the fact that the company manufactured by far the best components of their industry. Over a few years, they had thus become the world market leader in their niche.
When collecting content for the website, the trust-building blocks always come up with a considerable collection, which then needs to be weighted. Some content should go directly to the home page, perhaps even in the immediately visible area. Others can follow on later pages or be communicated via stories and blog posts.
As a result, the trust-building blocks method has been such a huge success in my workshops that I’ve used it successfully over one hundred times with a wide variety of companies. It works everywhere, whether it’s a one-man business, a small, medium, or large company.