Marketing is more of an art form than a science. We tend to try to make it science; however, no matter how hard we try, we are moved by emotion far more than we would like to admit. As such, the are great marketing lessons to be had all around us.
This last week, we had a chance to learn from one of our more visible local Utah politicians. Putting politics aside, it’s worth a look at this story to see how quickly trust can be lost.
The politician had a meeting with a large coal exploration company. After the meeting, the company contributed $10,000 to the politician’s campaign fund and the company was rewarded with a permit to explore for coal nearby one of Utah’s national parks. As you can imagine, this was a controversial subject to begin with – the addition of a pay-to-play element didn’t help matters.
There are many accusations flying around. The politician’s spokeswoman has flatly denied any wrongdoing. And no matter what side of this you are on, the implications are obvious.
This is an issue of trust. The politician and company should have played this another way, but where does he move from here? The right thing to do in order to restore trust would be to directly explain what happened to the public, return the campaign contribution, and kill the exploration contract. Start the process over and make the mining company reapply. Sure, the coal company is inconvenienced, but in the end, restoring the public’s trust in the process is way more important.
As marketers, social media enthusiasts and entrepreneurs, our biggest asset happens to be trust. We must do everything possible to build it and keep it.