New quiz gives you a Credibility Quotient rating for any communication

Conceptual illustration of Credibility Quotient: Hand changes wooden cube blocks with TRUST and TRUTH

We created the Thinkshift Credibility Quotient during our debut year to give clients a standards-based assessment of their communications’ credibility. As far as we know, it’s still the only system for objectively measuring this key element of persuasive communication—and yet we greedily kept it to ourselves. No more.

Today we launch the Thinkshift Credibility Quotient™ quiz, a quick self-assessment that lets anyone rate the credibility of a website, report, marketing copy or other communication based on eight fundamental factors (detailed below). The quiz weights your score on each question according to the factor’s relative importance in establishing credibility, and then adds up the results to produce the communication’s Credibility Quotient.

A look under the hood

To develop the Credibility Quotient, we drew on our decades of combined experience in journalism and communications consulting for publications, businesses, nonprofits and institutions. We also considered sustainability watchdogs’ criteria and research on ethical persuasion techniques, online communications, and marketing communications.

The quiz asks you to rate your communication on the following eight factors, listed in order of importance.

Consistency with actions: Does your organization do what this communication says it does? This is the most fundamental test of credibility— saying one thing and doing another is a sure credibility killer.

Support for claims: Are claims backed up? Are the data sources and testimony trustworthy? Are claims specific and detailed enough to be understandable? Aside from actions, this is the most important single contributor to credibility.

Accuracy: Are factual statements correct? Is data presented with needed context? Even one or two innocuous slip-ups can cast doubt on everything you say.

Clarity: Are claims specific and detailed enough to be easily understandable? Vague, confusing statements are hard to evaluate and can read as subterfuge.

Full information: Communications that answer obvious questions and provide relevant details inspire confidence.

Market knowledge: Communications that demonstrate that you know your market’s needs and concerns enhance confidence among potential customers and partners.

Relevance to audience: Any communication is more credible if you use language familiar to the target audience and authentically engage with their concerns.

Presentation: Well-organized communications that reflect your brand and messaging support credibility because they make information accessible and keep impressions consistent with facts.

The credibility payoff

Why bother with all this? Communications that lack credibility fail to motivate because they’re not persuasive. They slow the sales process because potential customers have a lower level of comfort and understanding. And they harm your brand reputation when reality doesn’t match up to your claims.

Highly credible communications, on the other hand, help you stand out from the middling crowd and stand up to scrutiny from reporters and skeptical buyers. They support sales by answering customer questions up front. And they provide a basis for accurate, positive media coverage. Those benefits are worth a step to be sure you’re making your best and most credible case.

Related posts

3 brand credibility killers—and how to avoid them