In the piece, Craig makes the point that news media has lost its way, having squandered the trust of its consumers and having done a poor job "curating" news. He suggests that news media companies can build successful futures if they focus on solving those two problems. With respect to trust, here is what he said and how he used his new phrase: "Trust is the new black, as I like to say. The great opportunity for news organizations is to constructively demonstrate trustworthy reporting, and to visibly do so." (Boldface type in original)
I am not going to use this column to debate whether or not news media have lost the public trust and whether or not their future survival is dependent on recapturing it. I leave those issues for Craig and others, though I do happen to agree with him. Rather, I am quite taken by his noting that "trust is the new black." I believe that he is on to something very fundamental with that statement.
Today, more people can have more relationships -- personal, business, casual, formal, fleeting, long-term -- with more people more often than ever before in history. And, with the rise of social media, the possibilities for more relationships are growing fast and exponentially. This phenomenon is particularly challenging for media, entertainment and information companies to deal with, and it is turning marketers' and advertisers' worlds absolutely upside-down.
When consumers have so many different kinds of relationships with so many different people and companies and products and services and ideas, how can any, or many, of them stand out? How can media companies or marketers establish meaningful visibility, let alone usage loyalty, in this ever-entangling clutter? There is only one answer now: trust.
Trust is the new black. It is too hard for most people to truly distinguish the complex and too-subtle differences of so many tangible and intangible products and services. Consumers need something else. That something else is trust. Trust is finite. Trust is generally based on experience and time. Trust is quite personal. A person's trust is something that he or she controls. While it can be won and lost, it cannot be forced or taken or imposed by recipients.
Trust is why brands like Zappos and Apple are winning. Lack of trust is why so many U.S. automotive companies are failing. Craig might call himself an amateur when it comes to news media punditry (he does), but he's certainly not. He's right. Trust is the new black. What do you think?