What were you doing in 2008? Take a moment to think back at the emotions you felt, what your office environment was like, and what your conversations at home were about. Anything come to mind? For many, 2008 was a scary time. The Great Recession was in full swing leading to financial markets collapsing, jobs and homes being lost, and an overall loss of optimism for people around the globe.

I remember asking myself many questions in 2008. Would my new bride and I be able to survive on our own as two recent additions to the workforce? Would the once considered bellwether industries that had now been gutted manage to rebound? Would there be a change to how companies communicate and what would this mean for me as a professional working within public relations? These questions and many more were swirling through the minds of all of us in the communications profession. However, despite it seeming like all hope was lost and the never-ending string of bad news wouldn’t stop, a new grassroots economy was forming – one based on trust.

In all likelihood, you probably know some of the companies to come out of this time period very well. Personally, I have used Airbnb as a traveler and a host. I have used Uber, Lyft, Sidecar and other ride sharing applications, and my friends have driven for them. My wife has tapped into the services of people on TaskRabbit – whether it be to get her LinkedIn profile updated or to have some home repairs completed. And, Etsy has been the source of many gifts for family and friends.

All of these companies turned traditional markets on their head by taking alternative approaches via technology that bypass market conventions to connect people to people rather than people to companies. All of these new companies established marketplaces that required normal people to provide other people a service for money, something that in the past would have been out of question. I mean, who would let strangers in their home or car?! I don’t know about you, but picking up a hitchhiker was something that always ended badly in horror films, so I wasn’t about to do it!

Well, things sure have changed. Trust is now a common requirement for many of today’s largest industries. It is also now firmly at the heart of communications. People must trust the people and brands they do business with or they will quickly leave for a competitor, and likely make sure they relay their experience onto others.

But how does a company build trust? That is the single most important communications question today, and one we have explored in our new eBook, entitled “Trust & Transparency: How Much Equity Does Your Brand Have?” I invite you to download a free copy of the eBook here to dive deeper into the shift we have seen with the emergence of the Trust Economy and how that impacts communications today.