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"It’s honestly one of the best books I’ve read on the future of brand building. What I love is that Scott is a practitioner so he’s sharing real-world examples of what it takes to build a brand. Definitely check it out."

Shama Hyder
Bestselling Author and Keynote Speaker, Founder and CEO of Zen Media


"Scott lays out a clear, integrated, and practical approach to making it easier for people to say 'yes' with confidence. Absorb, prioritize, and implement these strategies in your marketing efforts."

Ethan Beute

Trust Signals: Brand Building in a Post-Truth World

This breakthrough book from Scott Baradell shows how businesses of all sizes can achieve brand awareness and, more importantly, brand trust in a noisy, skeptical online world.

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To understand how to win customers online, you must first understand how they find you. Trust Signals offers a practical model to understand how third-party sources influence the decision-making of your target audience. 

What Are Trust Signals?


Let’s say you are interested in a book by an author you aren’t familiar with—this book, for example. 

Before you buy it, you wonder, “Can I trust this author?” Can you trust that their book will be worth your money and your time?

The author, in turn, tries to prove their trustworthiness in a number of ways:

1_icon_An accomplished

An accomplished and relevant biography


Glowing praise from well-known people on the cover


Five-star reviews on Amazon


Acclaim on social media by people you follow


Coverage in news media outlets you know and respect

These are examples of trust signals, the points of evidence that individuals, companies and brands use to win one another’s trust.

Mastering these signals is the single best way to build, grow and protect your brand in today’s post-truth world—where trust is the most precious commodity of all.

Why Trust Signals Are the Language of Modern PR

In this video, Scott shares how history has led PR to its current crossroads—and can point the industry toward a brighter future.

26 Trust Signals You’ll Learn About in This Book

  • Trust-centered website design
  • Website trust badges
  • Website personalization
  • Customer logos
  • Case studies
  • Testimonials
  • Industry awards
  • Industry partnerships
  • Media coverage
  • Press releases
  • Sponsored content
  • Community participation
  • Influencer endorsements
  • Online reviews
  • Bandwagon appeals
  • BBB accreditation
  • Thought leadership content
  • Executive visibility
  • Zero-click search presence
  • Google Business Profile
  • Branded search traffic
  • Social media engagement
  • Rapid response to complaints
  • Quality backlinks
  • Wikipedia listings
  • Forums and directories

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The New Inbound Marketing:
Breadcrumbs of Trust

Baradell-Graphic 11-Breadcrumb trail-1-1

Many books and articles on inbound marketing focus almost exclusively on the content that brands create themselves—as if this content lived in a vacuum. 

The buyer conducts a Google search and finds an article on your blog that addresses a problem they are seeking a solution for.

The buyer likes the blog article so they subscribe to your email list.

The buyer receives an email featuring a video demo of your product or service and watches it.

The buyer is retargeted with an ad offering a 20% discount code for purchases made that day.

The buyer clicks through the ad to a landing page where they sign up and pay for your product or service.

You’ve undoubtedly seen stages in the purchase funnel presented this way before. But it’s not how buying really works today.

Today, brands must lay breadcrumbs of trust from a wide range of sources—because your customers trust what other people say about you more than what you say about yourself.

Here's how following a breadcrumb trail to purchase works in 2024:

The buyer conducts a Google search and finds a helpful article by you, but it's in an industry trade publication, not your own blog.

When the buyer has an interest in the product or service you offer, they go to an industry review site and begin comparing their options. The buyer sees your brand name and recognized it from the article you wrote, so they include you in their consideration set.

Because you have the best reviews among your competitors, the buyer looks for other information about you. They find media coverage highlighting your company's growth and successes.

The buyer finally decides to go to your website and purchase your product or service—visiting your owned media for the first time in the buying process.

Some digital marketing firms only offer content marketing, combined with a heavy dose of advertising, in their programs. It's important to understand that without integrating third-party validation from trusted sources, this insular approach is doomed to fail.

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The Grow With TRUST System

The grow with TRUST system

Today's digital marketing agencies should be able to help their clients build a path of credibility—breadcrumbs of trust— that accelerate every aspect of the marketing funnel.

But having a list of trust signals to work from isn’t enough. Every brand’s trust-building efforts should be part of a unified plan.

That’s where the Grow With TRUST system comes in. It brings together trust signals in an integrated set of solutions, all designed to help brands secure trust at scale.

The “TRUST” in Grow With TRUST is an acronym for the five solutions every modern marketing firm should offer to help their clients secure trust at scale:


This book shows why the Grow With TRUST system is the most effective way for virtually any company to build, grow and protect its brand today.

Praise for Trust Signals

"In Trust Signals, Scott Baradell makes a compelling case that in our post-truth world, earning trust is a more complex task than ever for brands—but also one well worth the effort. Scott explains in practical detail how businesses can build a path of credibility online—breadcrumbs of trust—that attracts website visitors and accelerates brand growth."

Founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks

"While ‘trust signals’ began as a term of art in the world of e-commerce, Scott Baradell advocates for its broader use to describe any evidence point that helps a brand to build trust online. Today, not just e-commerce but virtually all commerce is conducted online, thanks to the ascendancy of inbound marketing. Trust Signals draws a direct line from checkout-page security seals to news media coverage and Google visibility as sources for building, growing, and protecting brand trust."

Founder, CEO of TrustedSite

"In Trust Signals, Scott lays out a clear, detailed, practical, and integrated approach to making it easier for people to say "yes" with confidence. And he does so with historical context, smart pop culture references, and full clarity on the fragmentation of trust that characterizes our post-truth reality.

Whether you take these ideas and frameworks as a calling to elevate the practice of PR, as a guidebook to integrating your marketing efforts, or as a snapshot of the shifting media environment, just take care to absorb, prioritize, and implement. Your ability to guide each person through their unique, nonlinear journey of buying from, staying with, and referring you will grow."


"Scott Baradell argues in Trust Signals that customer reviews are part of a larger con- tinuum of influence online, encompassing sources of information ranging from micro- influencers to the Kardashians and The New York Times. It’s an ingenious way to connect the dots in an increasingly challenging landscape for building brand trust. Trust Signals will help CMOs to better prioritize and calibrate their marketing investments."

Founder, CEO of TrustRadius

"Scott Baradell defines public relations as ‘the art of securing trust at scale.’ He posi- tions PR pros as keepers of trust for brands, and he couldn’t be more right—but only if the profession listens and opens up to a world of possibilities beyond media relations. I expect Scott’s practical framework to be adopted by many PR agencies seeking to strengthen their influence with the C-suite and expand their value to brands."

Author of Inbound PR: The PR Agency’s Manual to Transforming Your Business with Inbound

"It’s honestly one of the best books I’ve read on the future of PR and brand building. What I love is that Scott is a practitioner so he’s sharing real-world examples of what it takes to build a brand. Definitely check it out."


About Scott Baradell

Scott Baradell is a writer and entrepreneur who grew his PR agency, Idea Grove, with business generated by its popular blog. Idea Grove is one of the top twenty-five tech PR agencies in the United States, a three-time Inc. 5000 company, and an Inc. Best Workplace in 2021 and 2022.

In 2020, Scott started a second blog, Trust Signals, to provide news, analysis, and practical advice on what it takes to build trust with customers and the public in today’s post-truth world. The blog inspired this book as well as the launch of Scott's second agency, Trust Signals Marketing, focused on bringing the book's insights to small and local businesses.

Before Idea Grove, Scott was the chief communications officer for two billion- dollar companies, the co-founder and CMO of a venture-backed startup, and an award-winning journalist. He lives in Dallas, Texas, with his wife, Maria, and children Juliet, Benjamin, Jack, Christopher, and Maggie.


For questions, media inquiries or speaking engagements, please email Scott at

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