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William Arruda

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Are You A Trust Agent?

Trust-agents2 In a recent interview with Mohammed Al-Taee, I made the point that career management is already personal brand management, but that the next challenge is that “each of us needs to become, as Chris Brogan and Julien Smith have pointed out, a trust agent." But what exactly does it take to be a trust agent?

In their brilliant book, Brogan and Smith have established a framework for building trust that is comprised of the following six constellations of behaviors:

  • Make Your Own Game. Trust agents are typically "gate jumpers" or "hackers" who are able to find ways be original and to stand out.
  • One of Us. They are able to relate to a specific community that comes to see them as belonging, and therefore more credible. 

  • The Archimedes Effect. They know how to leverage relationships and resources to expand opportunities and influence. 

  • Agent Zero. They are typically at the center of wide and powerful networks, and often use their influence to help others connect. 

  • Human Artist. Trust agents have polished interpersonal skills and understand people; they know how to work well with, and empower others. 

  • Build Armies. They also know how to bring people together to accomplish more than they could possibly do alone.
In that interview, I also noted that increasingly success will not be based on one-way communications about one’s brand, but two-way conversations inside communities of shared interest, i.e., brand communities – both online and in person-to-person situations.

Fortunately, many of the behaviors that Brogan and Smith describe are consistent with what we typically recommend for extracting, expressing, and exuding one’s brand. Yet, it’s clear that building trust requires ongoing engagement. So much so that it seems to me that having a clear brand with solid messages is baseline. Taking steps to establish your reputation as a trust agent takes you to the next level.

What do you think?

Cross-posted at Threshold Consulting.

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More Stories By William Arruda

Dubbed 'The Personal Branding Guru’ by Entrepreneur magazine, William Arruda is a pioneering brand strategist, speaker, author and founder of Reach Personal Branding. He is credited with turning the concept of personal branding into a global industry.

William delivers keynotes and workshops on the transformative power of personal branding for some of the world’s most successful companies. He energizes and motivates his audiences—and his private clients include some of the world’s most influential leaders. As a thought-leader, William is a sought-after spokesperson on personal branding, social media and leadership. He has appeared on BBC TV, the Discovery Channel and Fox News Live and he’s been featured in countless publications, including Time Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes and the New York Times. William is the coauthor of the bestselling book Career Distinction. He is a member of the International Coach Federation and the National Speakers Association. He holds a Master’s Degree in Education.