How excellent small companies with dumb marketing will die: failing to leverage trust in the Video Age.

I was on an early District Line Tube in South Ken the other morning, surrounded by blue suited French bankers, a pretty blond lawyer dressed in black and a civil servant. Apart from the civil servant they were all checking their iphones – the latest shiny silver and champagne coloured ones – connected to 4G prevalent in that station which, if you didn’t know, is outdoors.

So apart from the civil servant they all looked prosperous, confident and positive about what they were about to do that day. There was even a fresh smell of expensive scent that you just don’t get on the 137 bus crossing the Thames.

As we pulled out into the tunnel, the 4G signal disappeared and their glances turned to the front page of the free but pithy City AM newspaper beloved by City types.

They gasped at the scary headline about the cost of living and that Ed Miliband was to bring about a return of 1970s socialist Britain (it’s unlikely the Conservatives will win because of the electoral boundaries) in order to bring the energy companies to book.

But I noticed the civil servant, oblivious to this, was looking at statistics about train speeds on a gleaming new white iPad. It occurred to me that when I visited the Regent St Apple Store a week earlier, those walking out with their fresh white, sharp edged boxes in transparent branded bags weren’t exactly heading off to Bond Street.

With the rickety sound of the 30 year old plus tube carriage rattling in my ears, I reflected that despite coming out of the longest recession in years, and the bemoaned high cost of living, luxury still sells. Indeed Apple has never sold so many premium products. To the rich and evidently the not so rich.

I concluded that people spend on what they discern to be of high quality. If there’s less money for some, those people may spend less but they discern more. You can discern by buying a brand you trust and to which you feel affiliated. But more powerful still is discernment through your own past buying and ownership experiences, or failing that, discernment by hearing the experiences recounted by others. Apple’s advertising budget stretches to over $100m and their products are loved by the vast majority of all those that use them, who then amplify their experiences to everyone else with the zeal of religious converts. They are part of the Apple tribe.

But if you’re a small business and not an Apple, Gucci or a BMW, you can still forge your own tribal following of impassioned zealots without spending a King’s ransom on advertising. You leverage trust.

If you remember, twenty years ago getting detailed information on the breading habits of Madagascan moths, would take hours, days or months. Now on Google it takes seconds. Information has never been so perfect. So you’d think that with perfect information people should be able to make perfect decisions.

Often reality is counter-intuitive.

Now anyone can set up an ecommerce website, be active in social media and rise to the top of Google for a particular search term. A professionally designed website looking as if it’s based in Britain is run from a bedroom in Romania. And you only discover that when you try (but fail) to find their telephone number.

Couple this with perpetual bombardment by people vying for our attention via email, Facebook, Twitter and an avalanche of ad messages including those that stalk us around the web, and you can understand why your prospective customers feel a little bewildered, not knowing where to turn and who to trust.

Trust is what people yearn for. Trust that they won’t make a buying mistake, trust that the product or service is as the marketing promises, trust that they won’t be hanging on for hours waiting for a call to be answered.

Ironically an online phenomenon, social media, provides an antidote to this. It’s a trust superhighway. People globally use it now to articulate and share positive or negative views about a brand, product or service to 1,000s of people in heartbeat. Good news – and bad – spreads as fast as the common cold.

Which is what big business and big brands often catch as a result, unable to quickly respond to what’s being said owing to their procedures, operations and sclerotic culture. Smaller, fast moving lithe businesses by contrast use Social Media to communicate and respond quicker, with their messages being spread not by just them, but by their fans, followers and customers.

Yet smaller brands and businesses face a challenge that’s going to be tricky for them to meet: persuasive, pervasive video.

Video is fast becoming the new language of the web. There are billions of viewers on YouTube every day. Video elevates websites rapidly up Google’s listings. Conversions are 3 fold greater.

Is this where the big budgeted businesses fight back at the smaller companies’ leverage of trust on social media? They can afford Hollywoodesque productions where smaller competitors struggle with smartphone-shot videos, poor lighting and cheap microphones. Otherwise they contemplate 5 figure video production costs. Ouch. So what’s to be done?

So that’s why I set up Diggbite (as in sound bites from people that Digg what you do). I want to enable good businesses with happy, even ecstatic customers, to leverage that trust large-scale in a world that’s increasingly using video. If we succeed, we help people better discern what they buy for the good of all.

Even if it does push up the cost of living further..

Diggbite as such now represents the fastest, easiest and simplest way to get your testimonials onto video. Happy customers call the Diggbite Line, leave their feedback, the positive parts of which are turned into engaging videos to provide trust to others.

To get the Diggbite Line number please complete your first name and email address in the form below.

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