In his session at the second edition of Star FLOW, Philipp Kristian Diekhoner, trust futurist and innovation strategist, author of The Trust Economy, spoke about making trust your superpower in the digital age.
In the beginning he mentions that trust is often daunting and uncomfortable. But he says this can be changed. “When people trust your stories, everything changes. And that is what marketers should do – tell simple and interesting stories. But don’t tell stories you can’t own.”
Trust allows you to do extraordinary things. High trust sets apart the most innovative, high performing people, and team. “Trust isn’t everything, but without it, everything is truly nothing,” he tells.
Speaking of how you can make trust your advantage he points out that our lives are based on assumptions. “More important than you telling the right stories is that when people retell your stories, it is told in the right way. And for that, your story has to be compelling and simple.”
Trust isn’t good or bad per se but it simply drives behaviour and value and, in turn, behaviour drives choices. He also tells that trustworthy is different from trusted, which means you got to be both. He says if you are a brand that is trusted, even if you are not trustworthy, you’ll still do well in the market.
Philipp shares that the world’s most trusted brands and businesses monopolise our minds. He categorises trust in three types – transactional trust (hygiene factor), contextual trust (expert knowledge) and universal trust (unique preposition).
He points out that tech companies are especially good at gaining trust. Tech and data are far superior to paper and stamp administration. He also clarifies that increasing business complexity is paralysing existing company structures. According to him, no company should afford to ignore this dramatic technology shift.
In the digital age, the trust economy is overtaking the distrust economy. The distrust economy is driven by Gen X and baby boomers, enforced by rules, institutions, and central bureaucracy.
Digital trust is changing the way we trust. It is making us trust by default. Scaling trust digitally collapses the cost of trust many businesses rely on. It concentrates the power in the hands of the very few.
He says if you want to be both trusted and trustworthy you have to change your way of trust-building because digital empowerment is shifting behaviour. Productivity suffers when common ground (trust) is missing.
Here’s how different generations trust:
Gen X: rules as norms, tech as a toolset, data as insurance
Gen Y: Google first, think second, tech as enabler, data as currency
Gen Z: digital equals first reality, tech as infrastructure, data is context
He emphasises that whenever trust leaves, value leaves with it. Everything we now take for granted was once a trust leap. Fear makes us trust too little and convenience makes us trust too much.
Philipp tells designing and managing for trust is key to winning in the digital age. It can be earned by perception, temptation, connection, validation, attachment and affiliation.
He believes trust will be your superpower because it amplifies your value. He concludes that you can be a successful marketer if you help customers become the best version of them.