What do Princess Mary, Hugh Jackman and Dick Smith have in common? If you said trustworthiness then you’re correct. According to Reader's Digest these three are amongst the ten most trusted people in Australia in 2012.
But why? What makes these three, along with the likes of Fiona Wood, Charlie Teo and Harry Cooper, among the most trusted in the country?
There are five attributes these guys share that those at the other end of the rankings don't. Ability, concern, connection, consistency and sincerity.
Their ability to provide reliable, quality services brands them as trustworthy. It might be ability in diplomacy, acting or business building, it doesn’t matter just as long as it’s proven and respected.
Ability is about achieving what you’ve promised to, which in turn makes you dependable and eventually depended on. And if people depend on you then trust is implicit.
The most trusted people are also perceived as having concern for those around them. Jackman champions Australian acting, Smith Australian business and Mary the plight of the underprivileged.
It is so important to empathise and understand the troubles faced by those around so they know that you have their best interests at heart. If people perceive that you’re working to improve someone’s circumstances then they will trust you in other matters too.
Australians feel an obvious affiliation with the people they consider to be the most trustworthy, even though most don’t know them personally. This is fostered by what they do and how they’re presented to the public. Importantly it’s publicity about how they’ve helped people out or once been in circumstances similar to their own.
Because everyday Australians feel this connection they’re quick to tell others how great these people are and spread their positive feelings about them. This word of mouth is invaluable in instilling trust.
There is a steady flow of positive press about the most trusted people and very rarely a bad thing said of them. This branding is consistent because their behaviour is consistent. Fiona Wood doesn’t get photographed on a bender nor Harry Cooper picked up for shoplifting.
They are consistent in character and therefore perceived as honest people. They would never break your trust because, from all public accounts, they have never done it before.
The most trusted people come across as sincere because they don’t appear to be hiding anything. This transparency builds confidence in their brand. If anything untoward crops up these guys deal with it directly and explain how it will be rectified.
This sort of sincerity is easy to establish but difficult to maintain, and very easily lost.
If these 5 attributes sound a bit businessy that’s because they are. The common attributes of Australian’s most trustworthy are the same that successful brands are built around too.
So small business owners take note. When you’re developing a PR strategy for your business make sure you become the Fiona Wood of your field, not the Brendan Fevola.