Can You Create Content that Builds KLT (Know, Like and Trust)?

Sep 25, 2014


There is large chasm between the people we know, like, and trust in this world versus everyone else. This is the same with brands. Let’s look at a couple examples to expound upon these important human emotions, ones that drive not only our affection for each other, but for the people and brands we follow.

Take our families for instance. Our families are people we trust. If I wander out into traffic, my brother will jump in front of the car to save me. I trust that. We know them, and their darkest secrets. Their hopes and dreams. And in most cases, we like them. We enjoy their humor, their hugs, and their smiles.

Brands fight for this same sort of neurological real estate.

The chemical Oxytocin is a key player in these emotions and can explain why trusting relationships can produce such loyalty. Oxytocin, sometimes referred to as the “bonding hormone,” produces feelings of trust and empathy among people who feel part of “something.”  Conversely, oxytocin also triggers feelings of suspicion and rejection of whatever is deemed untrustworthy.

Brands try to trigger this hormone with their online content but most times this backfires on them and puts the brand on the outside looking in.

Take Amazon for example. Early on, this skeptical writer looked at Amazon like most consumers. The company wanted me to give it my money for something I could not touch. It wanted me to enter credit card number on a possibly unsafe website. Yet, to test the convenience and comfort of this new service, I went out on a limb and agreed to purchase something.

Guess what happened.

The item showed up on time, exactly as I imagined. (Cue mental image of oxytocin flowing from my brain like a waterfall.) Trust was born. It had not matured yet, but it was born.

Then I bought something else. Same result.

About ten items later a love affair ensued. A service that takes my order quickly and easily with no line, delivers it to my domicile in an expeditious fashion and says that if I am not satisfied I can have my money back within 30 days and they will pay for the return shipping?

I’m in.

As the old saying goes, the best marketing is a promise delivered upon.

So is it true for online marketing? Many content creators out there simply want to get into our inboxes and wallets. But so few are willing to lay it all on the line and trade in short term profit for long term trust. The trusted and valued content creators say “here is my gift to you and I expect nothing in return.” That is where trust and likeability lie: Deep in the hypothalamus where the oxytocin flows.

Trust and likeability are key, but just as important is the actual knowing of someone. Knowing their story, where they come from, where they want to go. People want to know how we ended up where we are.

Do you ever wonder why NFL broadcasts spend the first hour taking you behind the curtain to reveal the emotional layers of an athlete? It’s simple. We all want to know them better.

One of the reasons Dale Earnhardt Jr. remains the most popular NASCAR driver is because we all rode with him over to the Halifax medical center that fateful day in February 2001 when his father Dale Earnhardt Sr., NASCAR’s icon of icons, died in a last lap crash during the biggest race of the year.

We wept with Jr. and for him. We got to know Dale Jr. and we empathized with him. We felt, through that process, that we got to know him. That’s why so many today say, “That’s my guy.”

Tell your story. Let people in. They want to get to know you. They want to like you and they want to trust you. But believe it when I say that there is a chasm -- a gaping divide between know, like and trust, and suspicion and rejection.

Think about that the next time your fingers hit the keyboard. Will this blog post or video be about the people I am serving or me?

Service over self will build trust. Telling your story will let them in to know you and then your authenticity and sincerity will ultimately prove if they will like you.

Work today on building trust with your consumers because when the world is whittled down to commodities, don’t you want to be the commodity that built trust?