This is a free article from The Annual 2017. As part of the Perspectives Series AdNews asked industry leaders from marketing, media, advertising and tech to reflect on trust. Every issue of the monthly magazine has exclusive features, profile interviews and content that isn't usually available online. You can download a digital version of AdNews or subscribe to the print edition here.
Trust has two enemies. Not one. Bad character and poor information, said social scientist Diego Gambetta.
Poor information is best represented in our society today by fake news. We could go on and on about this trust destroyer but this story has been very well told by Brexit and Trump. They nailed it. And in Trump’s case he had the lethal combination of bad character and poor information. So how much do these high-profile cases change things? A lot thankfully and I wasn’t surprised by Facebook’s efforts to address this recently as it devalues our trust in them and, therefore, puts their future at high risk.
As for Trump, I think we all know what’s likely to be in his future so it’s just a question of when he will return to Trump Towers for good.
I’m optimistic. I believe that our industry is in its most exciting time, certainly within my 20 years, where the good humans, with good values and talent of course, are now winning. That those with the most humanity and best insight and ideas to help clients grow, will be in the most demand. Just like Bill Bernbach himself and certainly this has the backbone of our office’s success.
This is in contrast to an era when some greedy leaders forgot about our clients and put themselves first, who won at any cost and when the industry became famous for inappropriate treatment of women and anyone who was different. A time when bad character gave our industry a bad name.
Trust was further broken when the digital age challenged our industry’s credibility. A time when there was a lot of confusion, when digital fakes thrived and money was spent without the same rigor, insight or accountability. It’s digital therefore it must be good! Thankfully we have come out of the haze, learned a lot, and have rightly put strategy, the real world and brand back at the heart of our thinking and creative ideas because of real evidence about what works with real people (thank you Byron Sharp, Peter Field, Les Binet and Leif Stromnes!). And yes, digital is a big part of that but it’s not an excuse for no strategy or wasteful marketing that has no effect.
I’m happy because trust is making a comeback and, therefore, the most talented and nice people, including lots of women, have a brilliant career ahead of them in advertising and don’t need to consider any other career options to feel valued, to grow and to reach the top. They certainly shouldn’t feel like Google or Facebook is necessarily the better answer anyway.
This is part of the Perspectives Series - Reflections on Trust from The Annual 2017.