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Am Scheideweg. Alte Marke neu positionieren oder neue Marke aufziehen? Was darf es sein?

Have you ever been in a situation where you were responsible for a brand change? Or where you were responsible for a rebranding project? Then you know very well how difficult this can be. By the way, you are not alone – others have a hard time with this kind of project as well. For instance, Weight Watchers was founded in 1963, and since then, their primary focus has been helping customers lose weight. Customers meet, their weight is checked and successes and failures are discussed in these self-help groups. Based on this history, management was of the opinion that changing the name from Weight Watchers to WW made a lot of sense. The “WW case” illustrates 2 things:

  • Hard-earned brand equity or brand value can be destroyed very quickly and unintentionally.
  • A word or abbreviation like WW can have another meaning. In this case, WW means World War to many.

Our case here illustrates how we tried to avoid these mistakes when rebranding drkpi®. Of course, we made a few others, as the text below explains.

1. WHAT DISTINGUISHES SUCCESSFUL BRANDS

The following 3 points explain what successful brands do better:

  • The brand has a classification and clear meaning in the relevant area of products.
  • Authentic and consistent brand promise.
  • Development capacity in the social area and relevant market.

According to Stefan Schmidheiny (Accent.swiss), the first challenge is when your brand becomes a generic term (e.g., Kleenex, Scotch Tape, and Xerox). It is both the best-, and the worst-case scenario for a brand. However, drkpi® is in no way in such a situation.

The second challenge we need to manage is the risk that our rebranding will be considered a flop by media, fans of the brand, and so forth, such as happened with Weight Watchers (see above). A second illustration of such a flop is Douglas, which sold perfumes, body care products, and so forth, and rebranded itself, using the hashtag #TheNewDouglas to spread the word on social media. Unfortunately, no one beyond the CEO and communications department really cared to use it.

The third challenge is ensuring that staff and associates understand the values and meaning of what the brand should represent. In turn, they feel empowered to support and help with the relaunch.

2. BRAND RELAUNCH NECESSITATES PROCESS MANAGEMENT

Ideally, the relaunch of your brand works systematically, as outlined in the 3 steps below, with each step being completed before starting the next one.

Corporate Image / Design:

  • what are our values?
  • how do we implement these things (logo, letter paper, brochures, etc.)?

Layout

  • logo
  • webpage
  • letterhead, etc.

Implementation

  • webpage
  • letter template
  • brochures, etc.

But in practice things rarely, if ever, go according to plan. Experience teaches us that digitisation of certain processes gives us the rare opportunity to analyse them. If need be steps can be eliminated, changed or even improved. This permits us to become more efficient as well as doing the right things, i.e. be effective.

Only thereafter will we begin to address questions related to such things as which hardware serves us best, whether we should use a cloud service, and so forth. The same goes for questions regarding brand value, strength, and strategy. Of course, answers to these questions also influence the range of products on offer. For example:

  • Priority 1. What do we really want to achieve thanks to a new brand name, image, etc.? Increase our customers’ trust in our brand / products, boost sales, and / or simply save costs?
  • Depending on the answers to Priority 1, what is the aim and purpose of this exercise? What is the purpose of a possible repositioning or renaming of the brand, such as drkpi® (or Weight Watchers changing to WW)?
  • Marketing and sales. To what extent does the design and our product range match the desired brand image?

Is a brand name like drkpi® worth keeping or is a renaming with relaunch more effective? It takes hard work to gain brand equity. However, a new logo or CD may not do the trick.

First Ideas:

  • CyTRAP Labs GmbH, that is drkpi® – the brand – performs qualitative and quantitative analyses.
  • We help firms optimise their corporate communications, digital and content marketing, as well as compliance, privacy, and data security.
  • In addition, drkpi® offers training, courses, and audits.

More concrete vision of these ideas:

  • We help companies optimise their work in the areas of corporate communication, digital, content and impact marketing, as well as compliance, privacy, and data security.
  • drkpi® analyses the extent to which a definable and measurable effect has been achieved.
  • In addition, drkpi® offers training, courses, and audits.

3. REPOSITIONING OF PRODUCTS

The table above shows, of course, everything is still a bit sketchy and possibly unclear. We had quite a bit of work left. As well, another round of discussions were needed to improve the team’s understanding. In short, we ended with 4 product groups to offer. These are listed in the table below.

StrategyAcademyComplianceAnalytics
1. AnalysisPriorisationNeeds assessmentAs-is AnalysisBest-Practice
2. Consulting FocusingPlan of actionActions to be takenDevelopment
3. ImplementationOptimisationTrainingRealisationSMART-Metrics
4. ControlMetricsAchievement of objectivesData securityBenchmarks

4. FIRST STEPS: BRAND EQUITY AND POSSIBLE REBRANDING

As shown in the table above, these considerations about the brand and its values led to further changes. For starters, the strategic direction was changed, product offerings streamlined and pricing policy clarified. Up to this point, little if anything had been discussed about branding or reputation. Just to be clear, it was a challenge for us.

Themes

  • Brand awareness
  • Strategy and growth
  • Organisation, governance, and processes
  • Usability / user-friendliness of the webpage
  • Usefulness of the webpage

Questions

  • Do (prospective) customers know the brand?
  • Which countries and markets with which product?
  • How can we streamline processes?
  • How easy is it to navigate and find the information one needs?
  • Does the information offer added value for our target audiences?

5. INTERIM BALANCE SHEET

This blog entry shows how many different aspects influence the answer to the question of a brand’s possible repositioning. In the beginning it was discussed whether we should throw out the DrKPI brand (at that time still written that way, today as drkpi®) altogether, or make further use of it. We decided to keep this brand for several reasons:

  • The name has a positive connotation.
  • Every firm wants to find and use actionable Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
  • We own the .com domain, i.e. drkpi.com.
  • Thanks to the short name, the domain name is easier for most users to remember (i.e. only 5 letters).

But how we want to position our products today has changed a lot over the last 5 years. Only after the questions asked in the above had been answered reasonably well, did we approach the more classic questions of graphics, CD design, and communications, etc. For the customer, the packaging of the brand is less important than the content, for example:

  • innovative and competitive products,
  • quality for a fair price, and
  • excellent customer service.

If the company masters these 3 things successfully, the packaging is just the icing on the cake.

6. WHAT IS YOUR OPINION

What we would like to hear about is what your experiences are:

  • How did you solve the challenges discussed above?
  • Have you ever had to change a logo or the corporate image and / or the website of the company?
  • Did all go according to plan with your rebranding exercise? What went great and what was not that great?
  • To what extent has such work in the are of branded triggered changes in internal processes and changed product offerings for your company?

We look forward reading your comment below. Thanks for sharing.

Trying to hitchhike to get to your destination.

This is the fourth in a series of blog entries about the concept of blockchain.
Blockchain is a decentralised database that keeps track of all transactions between participants in the system.
Blockchains are intended to help sellers and buyers, for instance:

1. Counterfeits can be prevented from entering a company’s supply chain, and
2. Consumer scams can be stopped before they begin.

♥ READ about blockchain in German and on the Vault Security Systems blog

Blockchain possibilities

Nakamoto (pseudonym) stated that the objective of a blockchain was to provide users with:

an electronic payment system based on cryptographic proof instead of trust.

Interesting read: Nakamoto, S. (2008). Bitcoin, a peer-to-peer electronic cash system. Retrieved March 5, 2019 from https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf

The scope of use for such peer-to-peer crypto-currency platforms has grown considerably. Since the beginning, most blockchains have included five elements:

1. Anonymity of the blockchain’s users. This is accomplished by use of a public / private key pair. Each user of the blockchain is identified by the public key. Authentication is then completed by signing with the private key. This is neither a new procedure nor invented by blockchain.

2. Distributed but centralised ledger. Several transactions are stored together in what is called a block. Each block contains a part of the digital signature or hash of the following transaction.
The network of nodes (i.e. many computers) guarantee a unique order of transactions – for example, how they happened according to the timestamp, and validate the block of transactions.
The ledger contains all blocks of transactions. Once it is published on the network, it is immutable.

3. Consensus algorithm for mining (i.e. process of adding transaction records). This is a way to ensure all the copies of the ledger are the same. Each transaction must be approved by members of the community. Transactions are accepted when consensus between validating nodes has been reached.
This is expensive because it requires a lot of data storage and energy to maintain the system.

4. Single purpose focused. For instance, Bitcoin performs a single purpose only, i.e. to sell and trade its tokens. Such blockchains do not contain programming features to allow solving computational problems. The latter enables the blockchain to be used in a multi-purpose setting.

5. Trading of tokens. Tokens are used, for instance, to pay people who run mining operations that require much energy (see point 3). Investors or speculators buy and sell tokens to benefit from market up- or down-swings.
Transactions involving these tokens are stored on the ledger.

The above describes a blockchain such as the one used by Bitcoin to allow the trading of tokens. Its purpose is to maintain a ledger that accounts for who owns how many tokens. Moreover,

    1. owners of these coins remain anonymous,
    2. transactions cannot be reversed once they haven been executed, and
    3. if one loses one’s private cryptographic key, the tokens cannot be recovered – i.e. they are ‘lost’.

Interesting read: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak discovered that point 2 applies when he had $70,000 in Bitcoin stolen after falling for a simple, yet perfect, scam.

Lots of experts do not like such single purpose platforms, especially if they focus on trading tokens only. For instance, Bruce Scheiner wrote in February 2019:

“Honestly, cryptocurrencies are useless. They’re only used by speculators looking for quick riches, people who don’t like government backed currencies, and criminals who want a black-market way to exchange money.”

Blockchain - a single one will not do.

Blockchain – a single one will not do.

What now?

The above illustrates that single-purpose blockchains may not be that useful to businesses to protect their supply chain or provide additional data services to their clients. To illustrate, in the enterprise or global trade context, programming features need to be offered in order to process various computational problems in the blockchain.

watch the WEF Davos interview on bloxlive.tv here

Another reason why single purpose blockchains are not useful for companies is that if clients have an issue, nobody is there to mediate the dispute. In most business applications, it seems most feasible to implement a combination of features of a consortium / private-type blockchain to better protect and manage data, as well as goods and services being traded.

Table 2 – Checklist: Deployment Models for a Blockchain
Type Access Key Characteristics Typical Use Cases
Public Unrestricted Distributed (multiple copies, immutable), consensus algorithm and currency (i.e. token) Cryptocurrencies,   general purpose
Consortium Restricted to consortium members (public may have read-only access) Immutable and distributed Consortium-specific cases, such as trade between members
Private Restricted to single entity, read-only access can be public / unrestricted Internal audit, database management, supply chain within corporation and its subsidiaries

Note. Adapted and expanded upon from Uhlmann, Sacha (2017). Reducing counterfeit products with blockchains. Master Thesis, Univ. of Zurich. Accessed 2019-01 at https://www.merlin.uzh.ch/contributionDocument/download/10024

Case 1

To illustrate, a replacement part is shipped from the original manufacturer. Each time the part enters the warehouse of the next party in the distribution chain, this is added to the block of transactions (e.g., wholesaler, importer). The final transaction occurs when the mechanic replaces the defective part in the car with the new, genuine one. Once this final transaction is stored on the block, the block is completed and digitally signed. The block is now ‘closed’.

With this block of transactions, the car owner now has proof that the defective part was replaced with a genuine one – not a fake. On this blockchain, both parts are being tracked, as well as work provided by the car dealer and the repair shop. Reselling and other car servicing data will also be stored on the blockchain.

In short, a single purpose blockchain will not be the best strategy. Only a multi-functional one will permit all these different types of transactions to be stored safely on the blockchain.

Interesting read:  Tabora, Vince (2018-08-04). A blockchain is a database, unfortunately a database is not a blockchain explains differences nicely.

Remind me when I have to take my car in for service. Original parts only...

Remind me when I have to take my car in for service. Original parts only…

What is your opinion?

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Distributed ledger technologies are collectively known as blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralised database that keeps track of all transactions between participants in the system. Several transactions are stored together in what is called a block. These are connected to other blocks in chronological order according to their time stamp.

Any corruption of the chain of transactions after consensus was reached will quickly be discovered, because the corruption of this chain of transactions is visible. This also makes a blockchain very safe against fraudulent activity.

While they offer great opportunities, we have to separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to blockchain hype. We hope this blog entry helps you in that process.

What do you think?

  • Do you have experience with crypto tokens?
  • Is your company trying to use blockchain technology to make its processes faster, more efficient or transparent for its customers or suppliers?
  • What questions do you have about blockchain?
  • What do you like or dislike about blockchain?

Please share this entry on social media using this link: https://blog.drkpi.com/?p=4904

Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

The author declares that some of the companies mentioned herein are clients of CyTRAP Labs or subscribers of DrKPI® services.

Fake bags being sold at the beach promenade in Barcelona.

This is the third in a series of blog entries about the concept of blockchain. For most of us, the problem is all too familiar: a fire sweeps through someone’s home, reducing their treasures to ashes.

The worst is when that person finds out that, not only have the much-loved treasures (whatever they may be) gone up in flames, so have their documents of ownership, tucked away in a drawer in the same home. Proving their ownership rights to the insurer now becomes considerably harder.

But the same can happen when somebody robs you. As Arman Sarhaddar, CEO of Vault Security Systems AG (with its iVAULT brand of products) explains:

These days, in some places not even your locked and supposedly guarded storage space may be safe. That happened to me – when I returned, my valuables and personal items were gone.

The above example is one case where blockchain can help the consumer, and even the insurer. Many more applications are also feasible. We explain some of the technical issues below.

1. What are we trying to accomplish?

The blockchain can help answer the important questions listed in Table 1 below.

Table 1 – Checklist: What challenges do we solve with the blockchain?
What are we trying to do? What value do we want to capture? For whom is this of use?
Record the transaction Information and knowledge about what changed hands Clients
Track the transaction Attribution and who is responsible Suppliers
Verify the transaction Access to records or permission to view them Manufacturers of goods
Aggregate transaction Ownership Creditors or investors
Reputation and trust Public agencies
Contracts Employees
Transaction ledger

Table. Adapted and expanded upon from Felin, Teppo and Lakhani, Karim (Fall 2018). What problems will you solve with blockchain. MIT Sloan Management Review, p. 36. Retrieved 2018-10-20 from http://sloanreview.mit.edu/x/6015. See also https://blog.drkpi.com/show-me-the-facts-1/

A blockchain attempts to maintain a permanent, trusted database, which the owner, and trusted advisors and manufacturers have access to only with a secure key. In turn, history and proof of purchase, the provenance of works in a collection and all related legal and insurance documents can be held on a blockchain.

However, before you decide to use a blockchain, it helps to address the questions outlined below:

  • Do multiple parties share data?
  • Do multiple parties update data?
  • Is there a requirement for verification?
  • Can intermediaries be removed and reduce cost and complexity?

If you answered yes to three of the above questions, then you have the potential to apply blockchain.

Blockchain technology - What kind of blockchain is best for me?

Blockchain technology – What kind of blockchain is best for me?

2. Privacy

The traditional blockchain paradigm is complete transparency. Business applications, however, need to meet certain privacy criteria.

Not all transactions should be visible to everyone. The reasons for this may range from concerns of commercial confidentiality, to legal requirements.

Regulations, such as Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) simply make it impossible for companies to make all data accessible. Instead, some information, such as a patients ID number, must be protected.

Thus, any enterprise blockchain platform should provide an extensive set of privacy features. Only then, can GDPR compliance be assured (see this resource page from MC Lago – checklists and forms that help)

3. Security

Another requirement, closely related to privacy, is security. Businesses usually need to prevent data theft at all costs. They also need to ensure all actors are clearly identified. Again, this necessity might be imposed by the business case or by regulations.

Thus, enterprise blockchains need to implement authentication features and control who can participate in the network.

Security, Safety, Privacy, and Data Protection: Vaultsecurity.ch to the rescue.

Security, Safety, Privacy, and Data Protection: Vaultsecurity.ch to the rescue.

4. Transaction throughput

As Table 2 below illustrates, public blockchains may have advantages, but transaction throughput and energy consumption levels may not be to everyone’s liking.

Enterprise applications are usually transaction-intense and need to be scaled in terms of transaction throughput.

At the other extreme, public blockchains need to be scaled in terms of the number of nodes that can participate in the consensus protocol.

In most enterprise applications the number of validator nodes can be relatively small: for example, one representative per company participating in the consortium. Thus, transaction throughput can be prioritised.

Hence, enterprise applications may not be public. Instead a combination of features of a consortium / private-type blockchain may be used.

Table 2 – Checklist: Deployment Models for a Blockchain
Access Key Characteristics Typical Use Cases
Public Unrestricted Immutable and distributed Cryptocurrencies,   general purpose
Consortium Restricted to consortium members (public may have read-only access) Immutable and distributed Consortium-specific cases, such as trade between members
Private Restricted to single entity, read-only access can be public / unrestricted Internal audit, database management, supply chain within corporation and its subsidiaries

Note. Adapted and expanded upon from Uhlmann, Sacha (2017). Reducing counterfeit products with blockchains. Master Thesis, Univ. of Zurich. Accessed 2019-01 at https://www.merlin.uzh.ch/contributionDocument/download/10024

By the way, the video below shows in a straightforward way how the blockchain principle can work for you and that its foundations – asymmetric cryptography and distributed systems – have been known for decades by computing science researchers.

Also check out iVAULT on bloxlive.tv – Interview at #WEF2019

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5. What is your opinion?

Distributed ledger technologies are collectively known as blockchain. While they offer great opportunities, we have to separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to hype. We hope this blog entry helps you in that process.

What interests us, however, is what you think:

  • Do you have experience with crypto tokens?
  • Is your company trying to use blockchain technology to make its processes faster, more efficient or transparent for its customers or suppliers?
  • What questions do you have about blockchain?
  • What do you like or dislike about blockchains?

Please share this entry on social media using this link: https://blog.drkpi.com/?p=1990

Danyele Boland Co-founder of Vault Security Systems AG

In December, we gave you insights into the #iVAULT blockchain, the new brand by Vault Security Systems AG, and the DrKPI production of the first three videos for iVAULT.

Now, we are happy to provide you with an update, available on YouTube, which is an additional clip to introduce you to Danyele Boland. She is the co-founder of Vault Security Systems AG (VSSAG) and as passionate about her business as the rest of the team.

If you need to know more about iVault or the minds behind this idea, read more here:

To stay tuned and get the latest updates on Vault, sign up for our newsletter here. Or subscribe to the iVAULT Newsletter here.

Danyele Boland: “Why I am involved”

iVAULT is a global network for users to register assets, such as lost or stolen property, to search for and identify them on a blockchain. These items can be anything of value to the individual user of the iVAULT blockchain. Companies and businesses, on the other hand, can protect their supply chain against counterfeits and contraband.

Working with Danyele was a special treat. She is a charismatic and intelligent speaker, and it did not take us long to get some great shots, even though she had just arrived from the US.

With years of experience in international sales, human resource management, logistics, and much more, she is an irreplaceable part of the VSSAG team.

In her video, Danyele recalls when Arman Sarhaddar told her about his storage unit getting robbed. He lost some of his most valued belongings. This is how they got the idea to create a platform to secure physical assets such as luxury watches, pieces of art or jewellery, or anything else that is of some value to its owner.

Gain more insights on her perspective and what she tells us about blockchain technology here:

https://youtu.be/LeMDFZ7zD98

What’s your opinion?

iVAULT is the first global network to use blockchain technology for registering and identifying assets (such as lost items or stolen goods). It lets users register their items on the blockchain, search for, and identify them.

So, what do you think?

  • Have you ever used a blockchain?
  • Do you want to try iVAULT, or do you still have some concerns?
  • Have you ever had a problem iVAULT would have immediately solved? You lost something of great value or bought a fake product? It must have been very upsetting. Tell us about it, we’d like to hear your story.

Join in the discussion and leave a comment. We will respond soon.

The author declares that some of the companies mentioned herein are clients of CyTRAP Labs or subscribers of DrKPI® services.
Arman Sarhaddar and Urs E. Gattiker preparing for the iVault video shooting in Zurich

Three new DrKPI videos are out now on YouTube.
Counterfeiting and theft are a global problem that is growing. Billions of dollars of damage are recorded every year.
Here, we explain how you can protect yourself against both counterfeiting and theft using iVAULT.

“Protect what’s yours.” That is exactly what you will be able to do with iVAULT. This new brand was created by Vault Security Systems AG.

This blog entry is about the three videos we created with Arman Sarhaddar, Urs E. Gattiker, and Lothar Rentschler, all engaged in their work for #iVAULT.

If you prefer to read their statements, you can find each of them here:

  1. Urs E. Gattiker, COO: What is a blockchain and what does iVAULT do with this technology?
  2. Arman Sarhaddar, CEO and founder: Why I created iVAULT
  3. Lothar Rentschler, CMO: Initial thoughts on marketing

Read this blog entry in German here.

To stay tuned and get the latest updates on Vault, sign up for our newsletter here.

1. What makes iVAULT special?

Urs E. Gattiker, Chief Operating Officer of Vault Security Systems AG, talks a little bit about the basics:

  1. What is a blockchain?
  2. 4 challenges iVAULT helps clients with.
  3. How does iVAULT ensure that no fakes enter their supply chain?

Remember when your club or association kept a petty cash book or ledger on paper? Each record was entered by hand, and then we started doing it all with accounting software, possibly customised for use in associations.

To be sure things were done properly, we probably had two club members act as auditors. They checked the books, including petty cash, and reported back to the other members at the annual meeting.

This is much easier with iVAULT. All club members or a selected group (e.g., board, advisory board, and elected auditors) can have a copy of the books in digital, encrypted form. This distributed system records each booking, which is then entered permanently onto the books once the majority agrees. Entering it onto the blockchain also means it can no longer be altered, unless others agree to the alterations.

With iVAULT, the new platform, we can keep our association’s books via the blockchain. Additionally, an individual may register their assets in the data bank. It can be seen and checked by everyone on thousands of computers, and the data cannot be manipulated. This means that if you want to buy a product secondhand, you can be sure that the person selling it to you is the true owner. Most important, if purchasing a used luxury car, jewellery, or expensive technical equipment, you know that what you think you’re buying is what you’ll get.

No fakes, only the original with genuine parts.

iVAULT offers four advantages:

  • Authenticity: Consumers can be sure that they’re not buying stolen or fake products.
  • Compliance: Streamlining your governance processes.
  • Information Security: iVAULT helps better protect consumer data while strengthening privacy.
  • Costs: Reducing costs, while speeding up transactions in the supply chain.

Urs explains this in a video, with an example:

If we want to buy a luxury car secondhand, we want to be sure that all data about the car are true.
This challenge iVAULT addresses by providing you with 100% assurance of that, because data, once entered onto the blockchain, can no longer be altered or even falsified.
You can trust that what you buy is what you get. As well, the company can assure its customers that they get the original product. In turn, this helps protect the company’s reputation.

We can check the information on every computer:

  • Which garage did the warranty work,
  • was the car in a major accident, and
  • more factors that affect its value and dependability (e.g., mileage and major repairs).

That is why we can protect what’s ours with iVAULT. But how did this idea originate?

2. Why I created iVAULT

Arman Sarhaddar, Chief Executive Officer und founder of Vault Security Systems AG, tells his own personal story in the video below.

It is what inspired him, along with his team, to create iVAULT.

With his personal belongings in a storage facility, he would have gladly used iVAULT, had it existed. When he was robbed seven years ago, having iVAULT available would have given him a real chance to recover his stolen treasures, and things he loved.

Watch the video of this very personal story below.

Arman lost all the things he gave to a storage facility, like a wooden sculpture and his complete music production studio.

With iVAULT, everyone can register, search for, and identify assets, such as lost or stolen items. Consumers can look up the information given by a seller about a watch, a painting, a car – almost anything – to check if the seller is the true owner and has the right to sell it.

For companies, the benefit can be even greater. For example, when fake medication is sold online, it damages the business’ image, and hurts patients. iVAULT makes it possible to identify counterfeits, both medication, and medical technology.

3. Initial thoughts on marketing

Lothar Rentschler, Chief Marketing Officer, explains that customer happiness, as well as service, is essential to iVAULT’s vision and mission.

iVAULT is about providing a new level of security and comfort for consumers and businesses alike. It is an outstanding solution for counterfeiting and theft. iVAULT helps to protect your goods, and that is why everyone on the team is certain of the market potential of the new brand.

Last but not least, if you want to read more about the shooting take an exclusive look at us behind the scenes.

4. What’s your opinion?

iVAULT is the first global network to use blockchain technology for registering and identifying assets (such as lost items or stolen goods). It lets users register their items on the blockchain, search for them, and identify them.

  • Have you ever used a blockchain?
  • Do you want to try iVAULT, or do you still have concerns?
  • Have you experienced something like Arman Sarhaddar did? Did you lose something of great value or buy a fake product? It must have been very upsetting. Tell us about it, we would to hear your story.

Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

The author declares that some of the companies mentioned herein are clients of CyTRAP Labs or subscribers of DrKPI® services.

Summary: How can David Cameron trust ex-HSBC boss Stephen Green enough to appoint him trade minister?
Why should I trust your recommendation and read this book?

The above are all situations in which we as consumers, co-workers, citizens or purchasing officers have to decide, can I trust this information?
Discover four tips right here, plus see our handy checklist – with slides!
How do you do it? Leave a comment, I am curious to know.

Can I trust you?

Every day we tweet and share information, but how much can we trust these things?

Can you trust Dominique Strauss-Kahn? The French former politician and International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief recently gave evidence at his trial on pimping charges, which threatens to expose his double life. Stating that he rarely attended sex parties because he was “saving the world” and had “other things to do”, he probably knows what it means to lose one’s reputation and wife’s trust and respect.

Dominique-Strauss-Kahn-faces-pimping-charges-in-Lille-court

Once tipped to be the next president of France, Strauss-Kahn does not deny having had group sex. But he refutes the charges of “aggravated pimping”, described as aiding and abetting prostitution. He denies knowing that women at the orgies were prostitutes, which is punishable by up to ten years in prison.

Similarly, the UK government was in possession of detailed evidence about wrongdoing at HSBC’s Swiss bank. That did not stop David Cameron from appointing former HSBC boss Lord Green as trade minister. But Swissleaks and other HSBC leaks haunt the ordained Church of England minister. The alleged money laundering activities happened during his watch (see below).

You are what you tweet

Remember last time you saw a tweet or got a newsletter in your inbox? You shared it on Twitter and Facebook, but did you first ask yourself, “Can I trust the information that I just passed on?” Was the study well done or based on a convenience sample (i.e. we asked our friends and know what people want based on that)?

Remember the last time you saw a blog entry like this:

Top 10 social media agencies in the world

So, the world consists only of the UK and US? I don’t think so!

11 power tips to increase your Facebook engagement

More like power trips, not tips!

These things are often based on people’s personal experience and opinions, but people still eat this stuff up and share it like candy.

Just reflect a moment, would you trust your banker to invest your pension savings based on personal beliefs? I prefer facts. I surely hope that our pension’s fund managers analyze data more carefully than just following such blog entries’ advice.

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

How to check trust levels for a blogger => DrKPI Trust Index

Garbage in, garbage out? Nope!

Corporate blogs are often simply about the product. In other words, they all just push products, some openly, and others in more subtle ways. The SAS blogs do better than most, that is for sure. For instance, whenever possible the authors refer to other material that is beyond reproach.

Erwan Granger blogged about cloud computing (see below). Smartly, he refers to the definitions of cloud computing as put forward by NIST (Peter Mell and Timothy Grance), a well-respected agency.

SAS-writes-about-cloud-computing-uses-NIST-definition

While the above blog entry tries to push product, it still provides content that is valuable, helping the reader better understand what cloud computing is. By linking to other material it provides me with useful links where I can learn more, thus saving me time. Well done! If you have to push product, this is a good way of doing it (please note, we do not do business with SAS, directly or indirectly).

PS. How independent these SAS users are we do not know. But some do a very nice job blogging !

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Bottom line

There are four things to abide by before you trust your banker, corporate blogger, client or dentist:

1. Take five minutes to check the facts. Before you believe your banker or a tweet you saw, do a check. Is the eMarketer study or Jeff Bullas’ tip based on sound facts and research, or just the author’s gut feelings?

Is the research or opinion good enough to bet your money on? Probably not, unless it is personal investment advice from the Sage of Omaha, Warren Buffet, or maybe well-done survey research from PEW.

eMarketer-cites-study-with-invalid-data-trust-lost-in-their-material

2. How did you come to trust this person? Think about your family physician: they are a non-nonsense person you trust based on their experience. They check a few things to avoid making a hasty, and possibly wrong, diagnosis.

Online content from a corporate blogger is similar. Have you followed them and read their material for some time; is their material trustworthy? Just like building trust, writing great blog content is time consuming and requires more than writing what you believe – show me the numbers.

3. Will your behaviour decrease the other person’s trust in you? Last week you agreed to have dinner with a business partner this Tuesday. Now you have to cancel.

It goes without saying that appointments should be kept whenever possible, but if you must cancel, do it personally and start with an apology. Make sure the other person does not feel offended or let down. Finally, agree on another time and place right then.

Stephen-Green-ex-HSBC-Boss-do-not-preach-just-live-ethically

4. Lead by example and don’t preach, just do it right. Lord Green, the ex-HSBC boss published a book in 2009 (see above image) that preached at leaders to not only behave legally but ethically, going beyond “what you can get away with”.

In 2005, Green became chair of the supervisory company of HSBC’s Geneva unit, HSBC Private Banking Holdings (Suisse) SA. In this capacity, he was responsible for compliance and oversight when the alleged money laundering activity took place at HSBC’s Geneva branch.

The trust people put in you, the reputation you had and how good you made people feel is what you will be remembered by.

Looking at the above suggestions, before you re-tweet something next time, check it first. For instance, can you trust the study’s data? Otherwise follow Harper Lee’s 2007 advice, “Well, it’s better to be silent than to be a fool.

Sounds like a good motto for corporate bloggers: Check and re-check the facts, otherwise do not publish. Especially if somebody wants to quote you, make sure you read the book first before making a fool of yourself.

More Information
Download PDF file with additional graphics and 20 slides (317 kb) – Can I trust my banker, blogger and this book review?

Check out the SLIDES here, they’re definitely worth your time!

[slideshare id=44382283&doc=check-1st-or-loose-reputation-and-trust-150207080226-conversion-gate02]

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You can view more presentation slides from DrKPI here.

What is your opinion?