Chris Heathcote – Authenticity And Trust On The Internet

On the Internet, trust is in many cases, especially in Germany, created through official seals of well established institutions, which have certified or even tested a website. This is the way that most companies attempt to build confidence.

But this kind of trust is rather technological, stemming from discussions about the general safety of the internet. Of course, it is very important. But what’s often missing is the notation of trust as an established concept that is deeply rooted in humankind. At NEXT Berlin 2012, Chris Heathcote talked about how companies and brands can create this kind of trust, that goes beyond Internet security and data privacy.

Trust builds over time and it requires authenticity, which can emerge from every asset of a company: products and services, staff, provenance, vision, values, heritage, etc. In his talk Heathcote discusses the way that different companies create trust. Some hide their provenance, lack personality and therefore authenticity: “If you can’t say where your things come from, people will not buy your products,” he comments critically.

Obviously, the internet empowers consumers. We have never been so well informed about brands and companies before. It’s not only what a company tells its customers about itself, but also what it doesn’t that shapes image in the consumers’ mind. Get it wrong and it will decrease confidence in your products and services.