The Social Good We Need Now: Trust

I’ve taken three months of 2021 off from writing for this blog. My dad passed away. My wife is a healthcare worker and needed support during the pandemic. Work was busy. I even paused my Google Ads campaign for my site because I couldn’t handle leads for even more work. And guess what? Work is still busy. The pandemic is still going. So what’s my motivation to come back to this blog?

The things that I believe.

Our world is facing environmental, economic, and social crises that have been decades in the making. Right now, this year and the next few years to come, will be critical in how we move forward as a planet. As social beings, we have two big levers that we use to tackle crises affecting all of us.

One big lever is social goods. We come together to create solutions for all of us that we can’t create for ourselves individually.

The other big lever social beings use to solve problems is the world of work. We have the tool of organizational endeavors (for-profit and non-profit) to create and distribute products and services that solve problems for individuals and communities.

I believe that my work in marketing the social good helps in some small way to improve our ability to tackle the crises of our times. A marketing mindset applied to social goods really can improve the design, distribution, and adoption of solutions to our problems. And this blog is a place where I work out, document, and promote marketing the social good.

One of the greatest social goods that we can create now to help us is social trust. Basic social trust is the belief that most people can be trusted. It is the magnet that can align us all in the direction of working together to tackle our crises. That alignment creates social capital, a resource that we can apply to generate solutions. Without trust, coming together to solve problems through social goods or commercial endeavors will be increasingly difficult.

Social trust feels at a low point today. According to a recent Pew article, in advanced countries the social trust spilt is 60 / 40, with the majority believing most people can be trusted. (Other surveys have much lower levels of trust.) The U.S. shows a similar 60 /40 split.

But the level of social trust is lower among younger populations, those with less education, and those who with lower incomes levels. This is a bad trend for a world with growing economic inequality and shifting demographics in the workplace, where Millennials and Gen Z workers now constitute the majority.

Here are some ways that marketing the social good can build social trust.

  • Delivering equitably on social good commitments: New Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg recently said, “A lot of the mistrust in our country right now is the result of policy failure.” All sorts of communities and individuals have been denied basic fairness. That breeds mistrust. A marketing the social good mindset of universal and equitable distribution would help restore trust in public life.
  • Marketing to reduce loneliness: The pandemic has only highlighted how isolated many of us are, despite our hectic lifestyles and online connections. Marketing has a definite roll in bringing us together, thereby reducing mistrust.
  • Marketing to reduce economic inequality: We are way off when judging levels of inequality. The growing gap between have and have-not only encourages mistrust. Marketing innovations can close that gap.
  • Marketing to increase emotional intelligence: All of us can up our empathy and reduce our ego. One of my clients is marketing emotional intelligence as another big lever in addressing our crises.

(Image courtesy of Libertinus)

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