Great Lessons In Business: Paypal
How to build trust in the digital era.
I'll admit I'm a business nerd. I was the kid who didn't enroll in the Business School in college, then found myself hanging out there by the start of my sophomore year. We're in exciting times for new Internet businesses, specifically in the "repurposing" industry. What I mean is, companies like Uber and Airbnb are dominating their respective markets by just hosting an app. Airbnb has come out and challenged hotel giants like Hilton without owning a single property.
Because of the low startup cost and a great incentive to join (making extra money) these "repurposing" apps are growing daily. Need your errands done? Check (Taskrabbit). Need your house cleaned ? Check (Handybook). Hell, there's even an app where you can get people's leftover food in your neighborhood (unbelievable, Leftoverswap). The point is, if you need something done there are millions of people out there willing to do it for you using the things they already have.
These are great ideas on paper, but each company has one major hurdle: trust. How do I know my Uber driver is a good guy? How do I know the cleaner I hire won't steal my stuff while I'm out? For the most part these companies succeed because the Millenial, or Tweet, Generation inherently trusts most things on the Internet. We know what's sketchy and what isn't, and we're not nearly as concerned about downloading a virus as our parents are. We only make up a small portion of the market, however. Gaining trust of Gen X-ers is the single most crucial obstacle digital companies must overcome.
Enter Paypal. For as long as I can remember they've been the most trusted payment source on the Internet. A Paypal transaction is as good as gold. Which makes sense, seeing as those who built Paypal have since gone on to dominate the tech world (see, Paypal Mafia). So what have they done recently that piqued my interest? I was watching TV today and caught this commercial:
PayPal / Security from Justin Leibow on Vimeo.
It was enough for me to pick my head up out of Twitter for 30 seconds to pay attention. I had never seen a Paypal commercial before, and they've been around FOREVER. This spot is genius though. It's modern, and appeals to the "hipsters" who like ninjas (if you're into that sort of thing). Most importantly it gets across one clear message: You can trust us with your money. Which goes a long way, specifically with older consumers. "Banishing Worry One Click At A Time" is as good as it gets for taglines.
Great entrepreneurs are very aware of the market around them. Though these "repurposing" businesses are technically in different spheres, they share a ton of the same obstacles. If they were wise, they'd launch a trust campaign similar to Paypal to seal the deal.