Summary of Chris Brogan and the Trust Summit

I had the pleasure of attending the Trust Summit with Chris Brogan and a cast of others last Friday at the Harvard Club here in New York.  Copies of Chris's new book, Trust Agents, were included in the low price of admission.  I already had a copy so got a second! 

I've been a fan of Chris for a while so it was great to finally meet him, ask him a question, and get my book signed.  He really was as gracious in person as he comes across online.

So I just wanted to touch on some of the points he made and hopefully I can get the thoughts of the others in a future post. 

What if you made your most disgruntled customer your CMO?

This is a really interesting idea.  Chris talked about the guy who tried to bring his guitar on a United Airlines flight and they messed it up and he complained about it in a YouTube video.  That guy got tons and tons of views and United caught lots of flack. So what if they hired that guy as their CMO?  Seriously.  I'm sure they'd learn a lot about customer service.  And I bet a lot more people would want to fly their airline.

New tools relate basic human passion

Basically, the more things change, the more they remain the same.  The reasons why we trust people today are the same as the reasons why people trusted others in the past.  Today, we have tools like the Internet, but we still look for indicators of trust when we connect with people online.  These reasons haven't changed and they're not going to change.  It's only the tools that have changed.

Relationships matter before the sale and after

If you're going to be successful in the digital economy you can't just open up shop, plant a flag, and expect people are going to flood your digital store.  You need to be there before and after the sale.  If you just pop in when it's convenient and when you're looking to sell something, people are going to tune you out.  People don't want to engage with businesses, they want to engage with people.  They'll gladly spend their money on your product or service but they hate being sold to.  I've never met anyone who likes being sold to.  That doesn't mean they don't like the products they buy.  In fact, there are more communities around products than you could believe.  But if you go in trying to hawk your wares, you won't be One of Us (a concept from Chris's book.)


I'll combine two points here:

  1. It’s not how many hits or views, but potential sustainable relationships over time
  2. We need more productive numbers, not more numbers

There's a huge focus on numbers and how many hits, views, friends, and followers you can get.  As someone once said, (and no, I don't know whom) there are lies, damn lies, and statistics.  If you have 20,000 hits to your site, but only 300  people take the desired action you want them to take, either signing up for something or actually making a purchase, then the fact that you have 20K hits doesn't really matter.  But if you only have 1,000 hits and 150 people take a desired action, then that's a lot more meaningful.  It's better to have a smaller community that's actively engaged and spending money than a lot of attention from people who aren't doing anything for you.  It's the quality relationships that you want to have.

And trying to measure everything is not necessarily going to help.  You don't want to get to a state of being so concerned with measurement that you don't take action.  There's a phrase I like- paralysis by analysis.  You need to know what people are saying, not just how many are saying it.  Step back and look at the bigger picture.


These were just some of the great points that Chris made.  I'm going to try and cover the remarks and concepts of the rest of the panelists in a later post.  It was great to finally meet Chris and hear it straight from his mouth.  It's no wonder why he's so respected in the field- he's a talented guy and a damn nice one too.

Also check out Amanda Arykoff's wrap-up of the summit.  She has links to some other reviews and I haven't had a chance to review them yet but hopefully can soon.