Marketing Inspiration

August 9, 2022

7 Minute Read

Communicating Trustworthiness: What Agents Can Learn from Patagonia

The #1 quality that sellers look for in a real estate agent is trustworthiness. But communicating trustworthiness is challenging. In this article, we'll look at how Patagonia has done it and what agents can learn from their strategy.


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Key takeaways

In this article, we'll study how Patagonia does it, look at a recent example from Zillow, unpack a few zen learnings, and lay out 7 content ideas for agents who want to better communicate trustworthiness in their marketing.

Patagonia's Footprint Chronicles

In 2007 Patagonia launched the Footprint Chronicles – an initiative dedicated to examine Patagonia's supply chain.

Transparency is one of Patagonia's core values – it's part of why they were rated the most reputable company in the U.S. in 2021.

The goal was simple: Be honest about where their products came from and the resources required to create them.

Here's how it played out – 

When you go to the Footprint Chronicles website and click on a product, you can scroll down to see how it's made and where it's made.

After its initial launch, people shared their thoughts –

Unsurprisingly, 66% of consumers have cited transparency as the most attractive quality in a brand.

Transparency is in Patagonia's DNA – from their website to their ad campaigns to their podcast interviews.

In fact, after V1 of the Footprint Chronicles was shown to Patagonia’s C-Suite, their main critique was to focus less on perfecting it and more on how to keep pushing the transparent narrative.

This type of mindset not only attracts consumers to buy more of their products, it also contributes to the fact that Patagonia's annual employee turnover is less than 4%.

When an organization prioritizes transparency and communicates trustworthiness to their team, their customers, and the world – they attract new clients and new talent that hold the same values.

While Patagonia is a great example of leading with transparency outside of the real estate industry, what about inside of it?

Zillow's Home Sale Proceeds Calculator

Zillow released a new feature that allows sellers to calculate their net proceeds.

Here’s what it looks like —

Their commitment to transparency is central to their strategy and has resulted in more than 1 million visitors per day.

What's the zen learning on how to communicate trustworthiness?

Tell stories that other brands don't typically tell.

Every agent loves to share their success stories when things go really right, but what about when things go really wrong?

What about the real struggles that people experience when they're buying or selling their home?

What about how much money sellers will actually make when selling their home?

When you tell the stories behind how a real estate transaction could go wrong, or the challenges that buyers and sellers are facing in today's market, or the facts that other agents avoid, consumers will see you as an agent who's willing to share the bad news.

The best medium to communicate trustworthiness is through video because it's the fastest way to build an emotional connection.

Here are 7 content ideas to get you started:

1. How much money will I actually walk away with?

2. How does agent commission work?

3. What happens if I can't find a home to buy once I sell mine?

4. How much money do I actually need to buy a home?

5. What if we can't agree on the asking price?

6. What if the buyer backs out at the last minute?

7. Will I need to waive an inspection in order to get my offer accepted?

Trustworthiness is communicated when you tell people things that they don't want to hear OR what they otherwise wouldn't hear.

Like Rick Ridgeway, Patagonia's VP of Environmental Affairs, said, "Transparency is telling the good and the bad."

It's a bold marketing move, but the result is attracting more clients who see you as someone they can trust.

Let's get to work!

One more thing – most people love content ideas because they can save you a ton of energy and time. If you could use more content ideas to keep in your back pocket, download our Content Ideas Playbook.


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