The Internet makes being faceless, anonymous, and downright dodgy too easy. Understandably, your customers don't like that. Trust between your company and your target customers is crucial.

Trust leads to repeat customers and convinces people to give you their personal information and data. And trust can also lead to a smoother introduction to the market for brand-new products and services when they are understood and expected.

Moreover, trust in innovation is more important than ever. As the pace of change rapidly increases, forward-thinking companies risk leaving customers behind if their expectations and values are not reflected in online conversations.

A whopping 51% of people believe that the pace of change is actually too fast (compared to 28% who think it is too slow), according to the 2015 Edelman TrustBarometer.

In other words, most people think that it isn't enough only to innovate and bring out new products anymore. You also need to explain why your innovation is relevant, needed, and safe.

You need to bring your audience along with you.

The Formula for Building Trust in Innovation

The Edelman TrustBarometer has also given businesses a solution for how to build trust in innovation and overcome objections, too.

This is encapsulated in the following formula:

Trusted innovation = [Discovery + Benefit + Integrity] ^ Engagement

Let's break the terms down.

Discovery is an explanation of the new view or approach taken. It is an opportunity to explain why you are innovating and to help people realize that the change is about more than just making a quick buck. Giving a clear and logical reason why the new product or service is needed in the marketplace demonstrates your expertise as a company.

Benefit is a description of the positive aspects of the results that your innovation will bring. The aspects need to be explained in terms of how they affect end users and what broader impact the innovation may have on society, your industry, or the community.

Integrity refers to extra details that can help convince people that you are a trustworthy business. It is an opportunity to mention things like environmental policies, employee investment, ethical business practices, and anything else that doesn't necessarily refer to the innovation being discussed but helps your audience form a better opinion of you.

Engagement is the most critical term in the formula and can hugely amplify the results of the others. Engagement is about transparency and sharing the results of any tests or trials, along with independent judgments on the results.

Giving the details of third-party sources in your content is a great way to increase the trust people attribute to it and, therefore, to you.

How to Use the Formula in Your Content

Whether you create a single piece of content that encompasses the entire formula or individual pieces, you can use this formula in different ways to build higher levels of trust in your innovation.

The first step is to take each of the four terms in the formula and create a simple message specific to your new product or service. Each message may be a sentence, paragraph, or short list of bullet points. Once the message is written out and agreed to, it may be referred to time and time again.

After that step, the message can easily be put to use in content marketing campaigns by simply developing compelling stories that, directly or indirectly, link together the four points in the formula.

For example, you could create a single new article or video that explains exactly why you have decided to bring out a new product, details the benefits it will bring, and demonstrates your expertise and standing in the field.

Throughout the content, the engagement factor should be emphasized by sharing as much "behind the scenes" information, raw data, and/or third-party validation or comment as possible.

Another option is to create four separate pieces of content that each go into the details of one of the formula terms then join those together with in-context links. Again, engagement should be presented and discussed wherever possible.

The more in-depth your approach to product development and the more complex the problem that you are working to solve, the more opportunities you have to create trust-building content.

* * *

Remember to always highlight the engagement factor in your content. It is the real multiplier of your content success. And as you create content guided by the trusted innovation formula, you can reassure your customers that changes are being made for the right reasons.

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image of Hywel Curtis

Hywel Curtis is a content strategist and marketer who helps businesses to grow online.

LinkedIn: Hywel Curtis

Twitter: @HRCurtis