What makes you believe in someone and in what they stand for? Is it what they say? How they say it? Or is it down to whether you really feel that they believe it themselves?
In many ways it’s all of these but perhaps the one that carries the most weight is whether you feel that the person truly believes in their own message. Is it authentic and more importantly do they actually follow it themselves?
If we take politics for example, much of the loss in public trust was caused by a feeling that politicians say one thing and then do another. You might say that this has always been the case, and there is some truth in that, but the difference now is the potential exposure. Mass communication means that we are no longer powerless to express our views. Channels like Facebook, Twitter, Digg, YouTube and the 80 million blogs out there have changed the balance of power. It is no longer from the top down.
If you are in business then this applies to your customers. As soon as they feel that your commitment to value and ethics are not congruent with your actions they will surely let you know. Probably by switching allegiance.