Reputation Capital

I’ve got a question for you? When you find something great (or horrible) throughout your day, how long does it take you to spread the word? I don’t know about you, but it takes me approximately 2 seconds to take out my phone / sit down at my computer, and another 3 seconds to type it out. With email, instant messaging, facebook, twitter, and text messaging, the rate at which information is spread these days is astronomical.

With the majority of our conversations being online, do the old-fashion business tactics still stand a chance in this technological hey day? Rachel Botsman, author of “What’s Mine is Yours: How Collaborative Consumption Is Changing The Way We Live” (Which TIME Magazine called one of the “10 Ideas That Will Change The World”) doesn’t think so.

The things that make a business (services, products, etc) are still important, but there’s something else being thrown into the mix. Something she calls “Reputation Capital”. It’s no secret that trust and efficiency are the key ingredients in making a strong public company. But conveying that trust and efficiency can be a challenge on our technological age.

It sounds a bit odd, but people tend to treat companies like people. They are personally insulted when Telus puts them on hold, or Quiznos gets their order wrong. They expect excellent customer service, they expect quick responses, they expect apologies when things go wrong, and they expect a company to be an active person in their lives.

Think about it, would you rather lend your car to a random guy on the street or your friend John? John. Even if he’s an idiot. It’s the same reason why knowing the boss personally, gets you in a way better position to get the new job. Even if the other guy is way more experienced. Personal connections are crucial.

So how can companies…well…be people? By being available. Most public companies get this, it’s why they have IR teams. But what about the investors that don’t pick up the phone? It’s about bringing the conversation into their offices and homes. As Rachel Botsman puts it, “it’s about “using the power of technology to build trust between strangers”. And how do we do this ladies and gentlemen? Drum roll please….

An online presence.

One that engages the user the same way a conversation would. One that, through use of design and imagery, creates an initial sense of trust before the viewer even gets into the content. Using technology to build trust! “Virtual trust will transform the way we trust face to face”.

Now, it’s obviously possible to have an online presence that doesn’t build trust through imagery/design elements, but you might be thinking “Pfft how much trust can images and colours really inspire?”

Case and Point:
Wholesale Seafood Distributor #1:
Wholesale Seafood Distributor #2:
I’m not saying either one is the worst example nor the best example of design, but between the two there is a huge gap, and honestly for me, I’d pick the 2nd example right off the bat (without reading a lick of content).

Check out Rachel Botsman’s TED Talks “The Currency Of The New Economy Is Trust” here



As Blender’s Creative Director, Jessica loves writing articles to help public companies utilize digitally creative elements in their websites to better connect with investors.