Integrity Starts With I And Ends In Why

Kirsten Macdonald
The Startup
Published in
5 min readFeb 4, 2020


In the marketing world, the word integrity gets thrown around more than blood spray in a Tarantino film.

Entertaining? Maybe. But it is more times than not, a fictional and messy show of cinema.

So what is it really, and how do we find it?

Big business has trust issues! According to the 2018 Edelman TRUST BAROMETER, the world is in a position of seemingly stagnant distrust. Running for seven years in 25+ markets, Australia ran in the bottom percentile of distrust from between citizens and institutions. The main players? Media, influencers, and marketers.

It is now more critical than ever to market your business in a way that radiates integrity.

Do not be bombarded with ploys fuelled by negatively used NLP and tricks up sleeves. Have you been lured to a free or cheap workshop only to be upsold to the more significant much more expensive program? You might spot a group of VIPs lining the stage because they are “special?” Operation FOMO- SUCCESS!

Have you walked away, feeling joy and excitement? Perhaps you have been inspired and motivated into action using more trust-based elements.

Either way, listen for that internal dialogue, for it is your barometer, your inner Jimini cricket feeding you information. Did you feel fear?

Walking away, feeling triggered by fear thanks to the host’s role is a curious response when you really unpack it. In many cases, fear-based marketing is engineered to make a buck in a series of statement or words to stimulate purchase and action. You may have heard it before. Something like: You CAN’T AFFORD NOT TO- or IF YOU VALUE YOU, YOU WILL FIND THE MONEY.

Tell that to the single dad or mum seeking answers to their small business problem or looking for clarity.

These types of statements are considered a deadly revolver in gunslinger marketing and getting past the used by date. Why? Consumers are evolving.

I once asked a marketer in an informal meeting at a bar how he could justify selling his program for $15,000 when he knew only 5% of people would have success with it, not because of his agenda but because of their own input. His response?

“If a thousand people purchased a Jane Fonda workout video in the day and only two people used it, is that my fault? Not only that, but if I put up a video and I cry about something that gives them meaning, sales go up, it’s not that hard.”

Hmmm. I will let you ponder that logic. I know how it made me feel. If I bought a new car for $15,000, I am pretty sure our consumer laws would remedy this with a recall. Hard play, manipulation in one of its worst forms.

Or maybe it’s the person who pays to learn from a business so they can absorb the information and sell it themselves in a reformatted way because they cannot come up with their own? I have seen that one before too — tricksy little Hobbits.

Now I do not want to risk sounding cynical because integrity is alive and well. I recently had the honour of being introduced to a company team about to launch with the most fantastic unicorn bound for glory. They put in so much sweat equity and personal financial investment and just needed that little oomph to flare it up. Offered mega-bucks to promote it to vulnerable people that couldn’t afford it but would pay.

Would it make them money? Yes. Lots of it. Did they do it? No.

They refused.

Did people question their business intelligence?

You bet they did.

Did they second-guess themselves?


What happened?

Six months later, they were approached by a positively fierce company who offered them twice as much and delivered it precisely for what the product was intended.

Everyone made money and felt good about it.

It happens. A lot. So how to know?

  1. Locate your inner business intuition. It is located somewhere between your kidney and the left hemisphere of your brain.
  2. When something does not resonate with you, DO NOT DO IT.
  3. If it goes against your business ethics, walk away. If you don’t have business ethics, you need to locate them too.
  4. Open a home for lost ethics.
  5. If you say you are going to do something, DO IT.
  6. If someone else does the work, don’t shut them out and claim it as your own. It is not yours.
  7. If someone gives you a gift, say thank you. Then give a gift to another. Pass it forward. Business means relationship and good relationships build more business.
  8. Use reciprocal practices.
  9. Be honest
  10. Use positive affiliations.
  11. Do some things for only the feel-good factor. Yes. You can.
  12. If something goes wrong- try and fix it, or accept the things you cannot change and have the smarts to know the difference.
  13. If it isn’t your idea- don’t steal it.

Build your business from bricks not sticks, because integrity has meaning, purpose and carries it’s own energy.



Kirsten Macdonald
The Startup

Author, business woman, editor at Ponderings Magazine and digital educator, seasoned with a dark sense of humour — a ponderer spilling ink with gusto.