We kick-started our 2018 programme of Ingenuity events with a bang at today’s fantastic business breakfast networking session. As our regular attendees will know, the role of the Ingenuity Network is to try to make the University of Nottingham’s research accessible to businesses through our programme of events. This morning’s event was a great example of that, as Dr Jonathan Tallant from our Department of Philosophy shared his research on ‘trust’ with an audience of some 56 business delegates.
Jonathan, Associate Professor of Philosophy in the University’s Faculty of Arts, began by explaining that philosophers are interested in conceptual analysis; finding knowledge and then analysing whether that knowledge is justified, true and believed. When analysing a concept like trust, we need to be really clear on what we actually mean! Enabling companies to really understand the difference between trust, distrust and merely relying on a thing, is something a philosopher is uniquely positioned to be able to do to help a business succeed.
The different notions of trust
We all know that trust in the leadership of a company is a driver of success and that trust plays a key role in customer loyalty but not all notions of trust are the same. Jonathan cited examples of two things he might be said to trust: his wife – perhaps to pick up his daughter from school, and a ladder – perhaps to bear his weight. If his wife forgets to pick up his daughter she might be considered blameworthy, but if the ladder fails, can you really blame it? There’s a different between the moral sense of trust and trust as the mere reliance on a thing.
Trust in marketing
Jonathan then touched on examples of companies who exploit both notions of trust in their marketing – Volvo being a notable example. He also shared a project undertaken with a local SME to map out which ‘notions’ of trust were being exploited by their competitors. The research showed that very few companies were actively pursuing multiple strategies of promoting trust in their marketing materials and therefore revealed how the company in question might position itself accordingly.
Prompting a flurry of questions from the audience, Jonathan’s presentation was certainly thought provoking, with delegates commenting on his engaging presenting style and that “it makes you think about concepts you had previously taken for granted”. For those who want to explore this theme further, Jonathan will be hosting a free half-day workshop on Thursday 22nd March on ‘The Currency of Trust’, so don’t miss out on the opportunity for more interesting insights into how trust can impact your bottom line.