Is ‘Trust’ Different In Digital?

By Teamspirit on Thursday, 12 November 2015

There’s a fine line between exemplary ethical behaviour and being seen as a stalker, con artist or worse, a data thief.

In our two-hour breakfast session yesterday we explored the potential hazards of your digital behaviour and debated the right way forward for your brand. Hosted by: James Sanderson, Managing Director at Teamspirit Share @jamesjsanderson

Imagine walking down Oxford Street where the shop windows aren’t shops, everything you do and say is being recorded and used, where people follow you down the road and pester you with their sales pitch, where your mood is being manipulated to make you buy things. And where the price you pay for goods is dependent on how influential you are. It’d be pretty annoying. But it’d revolutionise retailing.
We asked our expert panel, can the subject of ‘trust’ in the real world be different to trust in digital?

Andy Smith, Head of Media Relations Santander UK @andygwynsmith

Neil Gregory, Digital Engagement specialist at the FCA @neil82

</strong>Stefano Hatfield, High 50 @stefanohat John Harrington, Deputy Editor at PR Week @john_harring


See the top tweets of the day in our Storify.  

Thoughts by Teamspirit:
David McCann
Group Planning Director Teamspirit

Trust isn’t a digital issue, it’s a human issue. Digital has changed the nature and framework of our trust as human beings because the value exchange has changed. The technology revolution and the genetic revolution is changing how we trust. My example would be that in certain environments where my behaviour is now being monitored I’ll alter my behaviour. At a hotel I might throw the towel on the floor because it is of no consequence, but at an Airbnb where I am being personally being rated, I’ll be more courteous. In the value Exchange the customer has to clearly understand the relationship between them, the brand, and the channel. At the moment customers often segment what they do on desktop to mobile. But they are not disconnected, irrespective of device, because ultimately everything is connected. The big trouble spots are: the increasing connectedness of data, the increasing use of cognitive computing, and the ownership of data between organisations and government. The use of behavioural science is also a concern. It’s seen as a positive when influencing choice architecture, but not when used to influence in our decision making.

Natalie Orringe
Deputy Managing Director at Teamspirit Public Relations

In a digital world, we are all media owners and like traditional media owners, securing trust requires certain behaviours. Behave authentically, be accessible but don't spam. Where organisations break this code of conduct they quickly lose a customer’s trust and risk losing their custom.

James Maxwell
Executive Creative Director at Teamspirit

A level of distrust is natural… and needed. Is trust in digital different? No, it isn’t. Brands, organisations have ways to abuse our trust now in all new and exciting ways. But our levels of trust as consumers are the same and we should always have a healthy level of distrust and awareness. Just as brands need to know you continually need to EARN trust. So, tell me what you’re doing with my data. Don’t try to hide who you are or and don’t bother me too much (if you do at least be entertaining or useful). And I’ll try to not just believe everything I see in front of me because it’s on a screen. So my last thought or maybe it’s advice, or possibly even a mantra, is this: When it comes to engaging with others digitally… be authentic. Simple really.

A video from the day will be made available soon. To receive it and our upcoming white paper report, please register your interest by emailing []( with the subject line: DigitalDebate

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