The paradox of trust

Believing without trusting: the advertising culture was long based on this assumption. But today, the syntax of this phrase can be reversed. This is due to a new pact of trust, co-authored by citizens and institutions in the name of a common ideal of sharing. Sharing of stories, values, common bonds

"It’s good to trust, and not to trust is better" goes the old saying. It is so old that perhaps, unlike much of popular wisdom, it is no longer entirely true. At least not in the field of communication. For at least three generations the réclame, the old times advertising, asked to trust those who claimed to be "as white as it can possibly be", or those who "do things in the right way", or those who did not use "a big brush, but a great brush." And almost all of us, did trust. But we did not really believe that policeman who was hiding the great brush under the uniform in that famous Italian TV ad spot of “Pennelli Cinghiale” brush producers. It seems almost a paradox: trust someone but know, deep inside, that you can not really believe what he says.

Today things have changed: thanks to interactivity, sharing and social networks we are now used (or rather re-used) to have a more balanced approach with the issue of trust. Those who work in the field of communication can not disregard the change, especially if it is not a brand that communicates with the consumer, but the public body that speaks to the citizen. It is at this point that the distinction between believing and trusting emerges strongly: on the one hand the interpreted crystallized reality is proposed, which the recipient can only accept or reject, and on the other hand we have a complex game of interaction, exchange and creating relationships.

"Consumers trust much more other consumers, than businesses," says a marketing guru Philip Kotler and, although the applicability of these principles to public communication is still under discussion, it is now certain that a relationship of trust is more stable when it is based on reciprocity. And it is in this renewed practice of sharing that public communication can make a difference. We think so, because the institutions do not need to create stories or to build a brand: it is the citizen, with his experience that creates narratives, which help identify the languages ​​to use in order to rewrite the pact of trust between Institutions and the community. And maybe we can then rewrite the old saying in a new form: "trusting is better".



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