Tag Archives: Trust in Business

Turning Passion and Vision into Reality

During the last few years of my life, I have had one question asked of me more than any other: “What is Wyngspan?” In the early stages of becoming a co-founder, I answered this question very specifically by saying, “Wyngspan is an alternative to review sites. It’s a place consumers can find and share trustworthy recommendations for professional resources with friends and family.” More often than not, I would see the “Ah-ha” look. “Oh, I get it now,” most would reply. Each time I would feel victorious, thinking I taught one new person about our great company, which is something I set out to do each and every day. I always felt like we were getting one step closer to Wyngspan becoming a household name and changing the way the world conducts business. Little by little, marketing my company seemed to be working and I was extremely excited. It seemed as if everyone I spoke with would just run home and join our online community. Little did I realize, I was doing it all wrong.

Looking back, I can think of numerous instances where I answered that same question. I think back to how I felt when I answered. The reality is, I wasn’t “feeling” at all. I was thinking, but not quite able to convey who we really are and what we’re trying to do. Wyngspan wasn’t launched because a couple of old college buddies thought it might be a good idea. It was launched because we BELIEVED it should exist. I was seeing firsthand how inaccurate and biased online review sites were becoming. I worked at an establishment run by a co-owner that wanted his staff to write fake positive reviews. I met a woman who had spent $5,000 just to have two negative reviews written about her small business removed. I watched countless video testimonials of small business owners whose online reputations were destroyed simply because they didn’t advertise with the big review site players. Back then; I FELT like enough was enough. I realized the world was facing a major problem and business owners were taking the brunt of it all. I knew the world of online reputations was taking focus away from business being 100% about the customer. It was time for a change and we set out to make it happen.

Recently, I’ve turned our team’s passion and vision into reality. Before, I was monotonously answering questions like an emotionless robot). I was telling people what they wanted to hear, rather than presenting what they needed to hear. Now I’m sharing our passion, rather than simply giving an elevator pitch. I start each day thinking about the small business owner fighting for survival. I think about the person who hides behind the computer screen writing 11 paragraph rants about a poorly cooked hamburger served by a rude 18 year old simply trying to make it through college. I think about the stay at home mom who needs a trustworthy pediatrician to take care of her children or a trustworthy plumber to come into her house to fix a major issue. I think about these people and continue to fuel my passion for the change I believe in.

What started happening next was miraculous. When people asked the same question that had been presented to me time and time again, I stopped thinking. I started feeling. My feelings led to sharing and sharing led to connecting. I wasn’t making mental connections anymore—I was making emotional connections. I was getting out of heads and into hearts. People traded in “Ah-ha’s” for “Wows.” Not only was the reality of my passion and vision becoming more understandable, but people were starting to see what we believe so strongly in, and more importantly, why we believe it. It has opened doors I never even realized were closed. It has created opportunity that I otherwise would not have realized existed. Most importantly, I have started helping people believe that change is on the way, because they can feel my passion.

This was a dramatic change for me. In time, I know that what we are doing will make a drastic difference in the lives of consumers. We will make the process of purchasing products and selecting services better than ever. Our focus will continue to be on the power of trust. Trust in friends. Trust in family. Trust in business. Our focus is, and always will be powered by passion and vision. Without those things, why bother?

Andrew Markey

News Round-Up: Calls for Transparency in Business Highlight Importance of Trust

News Round-Up: Calls for Transparency in Business Highlight Importance of Trust

Businesses are constantly making the news for being untrustworthy. Consumers feel they deserve to know the workings behind the products or services they consume. The purpose of our monthly News Round-Up series will be to analyze these events in the hope of sparking conversations about restoring trust in businesses.

Here are some recent stories that caught our eye this month:

Deidre H. Campbell, an executive with the public relations firm Edelman, contributed an article to CNBC outlining five tips for improving trust. She mentions that finance and business continually rank at the bottom of the list of most trusted industries. One of the five methods proposed by Campbell to reverse this is, what she calls, the “surround-sound effect.” In other words, companies should find new channels to echo their messages. With online search being one of the primary ways to consume information, Campbell suggests that a company is better served maximizing the value of its content by delivering tailored material to targeted audiences. She also concludes that transparency has become essential, requiring companies to adapt or lose.

The next article, from CBS MoneyWatch, takes us from Wall Street to Main Street. Journalist Aimee Picchi analyzes how advertising revenue factors in to business rankings on review sites. She quotes Consumer Reports senior editor Jeff Blyskal as saying that when consumers pay money for information, there is an expectation that the source can be trusted. Angie’s List has been facing accusations of tampering with what should be organic search results. Nonetheless, marketing firm Yodle found that a vast majority of consumers still place a high value on positive online reviews. Conversely, sixty-eight percent of small businesses say they couldn’t care less. Seems to be a disconnect here.

James Surowiecki, in his recent column for The New Yorker, warns that brands better start caring. Surowiecki has made career of covering business and financial topics. He argues that businesses face more pressure than ever before to deliver on promises, concluding that any brand is only as good as its last product. The Internet is an empowering tool for the consumer. Surowiecki maintains that a company can no longer rely on brand loyalty to generate profits. Businesses now must compete for the best online endorsements. This is a welcome change for some. Smaller players can now challenge the incumbents. Hidden gems can be discovered by a simple search. Shady business practices are exposed.

While consumers welcome platforms that allow more transparency, they are also smart enough to realize the major flaw in the system. The online review environment is a hive-mind for storytellers. Rachel Feltman, a journalist for Quartz, comments on the discrepancies of consumers’ trust in online reviews. She says, consumers’ level of distrust can be multiplied by the importance of the decision. According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan Medical School, forty-three percent of participants did not trust the information provided online about physicians. Asking a family member or friend is still the preferred method for finding a doctor. The risk of facing bad consequences has always factored into decision-making, and the risk of believing a fake review invites further hesitation.

Why should consumers have to settle for reviews from strangers when it’s honest transparency they are searching for? Social proof can be a powerful convincer. Social proof complemented with endorsements from familiar faces—now that’s a solution you can trust.

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