What I enjoy most about being in consumer products is that even if I’m not the target market for a product, I am a consumer, so at least I have an idea of how a consumer thinks.

I suppose I’ve been asleep and folks will laugh that I am just now coming into close contact with the know, like, trust phrase. For those of you asleep like me simply being consumers, the world of marketing has broken down the “new” way to reach customers.

I don’t know what the old way was called; build it they will come? Advertise until you run out of money? Whatever it was called, Al Gore’s world wide web has changed everything…..or has it?

The concept of having a business relationship used to be very much under the control and influence of the seller (the store or the service provider). They would send out ongoing messages “buy me, buy me, buy me”. The more messages, the more buying. MBAs ruled the world.

Now, a lot has changed. Own a restaurant and provide bad service, Yelp will punish you. Own a hotel and miss a turndown and Travelocity will punish you. Examples go on and on. But, who’s extolling the punishment – yep, the consumer.

Consumers run the world. They do homework. They make some sort of effort to get to know what they are doing. (I think we always did.) The seller must them make an effort to become known, not by “buy me, buy me, buy me”, but, by the deeds, actions and activities of the business.

As it turns out, if I know you by your deeds, I might begin to like you. How? We‘ve all had personal relationships. There shouldn’t be a mystery here. You be considerate, be thoughtful, be respectful, let other people talk (everything your mom told you), etc. If you do all that, maybe, just maybe someone will trust you with money (OMG, not money!!) to take care of a personal need.

The Yellow pages are disappearing, because phoning a stranger with a problem you need solved is only for emergencies. Otherwise, I’m going to my network. Ask a friend. Facebook. Linked In. Rotary. Colleagues. Start there.

Know, like, trust, isn’t exactly new. When I was a kid we knew the people at the grocery store. We knew the people at the local shoe store. The manager of the bank was my friend’s dad. We knew the people at the drug store. But, those were all locally owned businesses.

Maybe know, like, trust is just a recycle of a retro perspective that we did not realize we had lost. By corporatizing America, which has been great for many, we have also de-personalized many, many experiences into just transactions. What know, like, trust says to me is that the consumer is looking for businesses focused on being real with people again. In a small town that happens more. In a big city, less so. On the web, not at all. Except……………through social media. Be considerate, be thoughtful, be respectful, let other people talk. It’s harder than it sounds.