Another part of this is humility. You may love your brand, but don’t assume everyone does or that they want to hear about it all the time. The way we see it, a brand representative doesn’t need to verbalize, and shouldn’t need to verbalize, their love; they should live it.” Trust Agents, p 111.
I hear people talking about evangelists all the time. Sometimes they are talking about people who represent a brand. Sometimes they talk about people who represent God.
Many people from each of those groups–marketers and church people–wonder about the people from the other group using the word. Many marketing people probably cringe about how religious Christian evangelists are. Some Christian evangelists probably cringe when they see ‘their’ term being used to sell soap.
When Chris Brogan and Julien Smith are talking about trust agents in the section quoted above, they are distinguishing them from brand evangelists. I think they are also distinguishing them from the other kind of evangelists as well, at least the stereotype many people have.
A trust agent, a person who is “one of us”, a real member of my community, is someone like me who may talk about what she knows and believes, what he’s experienced. We trust her because we know where she comes from. If he supports a product, we are curious because we know that we aren’t trying to be sold. We know that whether we buy, we’ll still have a friend.
Both kind of evangelists, religious or brand, often have a selling piece. If we don’t believe or buy, they will lose interest in us. They are, we believe, getting some kind of points, whether eternal or material, for our response.
What Chris and Julien are talking about is someone who won’t measure my value by whether I’ll buy or buy-in, someone who will live the creed before imposing the creed, someone who forgives if talking about forgiveness.
Both kinds of people who call themselves evangelists could benefit from thinking about trust.
And maybe they’d learn something from each other.