March 15, 2021

Design Feast’s Makers Series—111th Interview: In her latest book “Trustworthy,” Margot Bloomstein Gives both Informed Motivation and Methods Against the Cheap Refuge of Cynicism

More than a meme, trust is the ultimate basis in relationships. Margot Bloomstein is a Speaker and Content Strategist examines the critical importance of this all-seasons quality in her new book—“Trustworthy: How the Smartest Brands Beat Cynicism and Bridge the Trust Gap.” It is, as Margot put it, “the fierce urgency of now” that reinforces sharply the challenge of expressing and executing trust in business, design and tech—most of all, throughout society. Here, Margot expands on her research of trust within the context of industry in her latest book—six years in the making.

1. In a business sense, what is trust?

Trust is the currency of connection. In business, trust is the way we invest our attention, decide to broker partnerships, and choose to open our wallets—and minds. The opposite of trust is cynicism. When we’re cynical, we turn away from opportunities to connect and learn.

2. How did you arrive at writing your book “Trustworthy: How the Smartest Brands Beat Cynicism and Bridge the Trust Gap”?

In the 2016 election cycle, I noticed that public response to bald-faced deceit in politics was shifting. A tide of cynicism and blind faith seems to overtake accountability. We didn’t see politicians face the same kind of repercussions that previously accompanied bad behavior. If cynicism was undermining trust, I wanted to know why—and if it would be a problem outside of politics. Years of gaslighting from politicians and media outlets lured people into complacent information consumption. We’ve turned away from experts, retreated into filter bubbles, and fallen prey to disinformation about election security, vaccines, and climate change. This trend started in politics, but now affects business, education, and public health. When cynicism undermines trust, it becomes everyone's problem—certainly, if you’re a brand trying to sell something or engage in marketing. So what can we do about it?

That’s the question I wanted to answer for my clients and colleagues. I wrote “Trustworthy” to figure out new tactics for designers, content creators, and marketers to respond to the challenge of trust in an increasingly cynical society.

3. Regarding the quality of trustworthy, what company/brand first comes to mind? What are top ways they’re engaging to earn and re-earn their reputation of trust?

One of the first brands I researched was 

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