I hear a lot of service brands talk about trust. There’s nothing wrong with being a trusted brand. Hell, it’s the same in the brand strategy world. Clients need to trust. Especially when marketers are not buying something existential, like a logo or name. They’re buying “an organizing principle for product, experience and messaging.” But I digress.

When trust becomes a problem in a category, say car dealerships or low-cost lawyers, marketers sometimes default to using the “T” word in their advertising. It may sound like marko-babble but it’s reality: You can’t sell trust, you earn trust. Using the word trust in an ad is flawed craft. Proving you can be trusted is the only way to approach it. Through deeds. And actions.

Trust Pilot has built a business on codifying trust. Yelp, to an extent, has done the same collecting customer comments.

Whenever I read an ad that contains the word trust I lose interest. It’s worse than canned laughter on TV. Don’t tell me how to feel, make me feel.