92% of consumers trust referrals from friends and family over any other form of advertising*
86% of B2B buyers say word-of-mouth is the most** influential factor in making purchase decisions
75% of people don’t trust paid adverts***
Manchester is set to play host to one of the most exciting tech launches of 2023, thanks to two award-winning, local tech entrepreneurs. The Circle of Trust is a digital word-of-mouth app that instantly connects consumers with trusted personal recommendations from their own network, and is set to go live across the UK on October 12th, 2023.
The Circle of Trust offers savvy consumers immediate access to genuine word-of-mouth recommendations from the people they trust the most for whatever business sector they need. From plumbers to hairdressers, mechanics to accountants, dog groomers to solicitors, the Circle of Trust allows users to access personal recommendations from their most trusted network, allowing users to feel safe in the knowledge that the service providers have the trust and endorsement of someone they know, someone ‘in their circle’.
The Circle of Trust is the brainchild of Mancunian Tracy Johnson and her co-founder Susanna Lawson. It aims to make scouring the internet for recommendations from strangers a thing of the past. It is based on the belief that when consumers trust the person making the recommendation, they can trust the recommendation itself.
Thousands of people everyday find themselves searching for a plumber, a hairdresser, a tiler and often don’t know where to turn to for genuine recommendations - and this is where the Circle of Trust comes in.
The Circle of Trust will not only change the way that consumers search for recommendations but it also has the potential to change the lives of more than 5.5 million SMEs (Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises) across the UK.
The Circle of Trust aims to revolutionise recommendations, meaning businesses will no longer rely on SEO results and big budgets to generate new business. Instead, they can bank on the quality of their work and the number of people who choose to add them to their circle.
The Circle of Trust will offer businesses a low-cost but effective marketing tool helping them generate new customers. What's more, it's easy to set up and manage, and there's no need to worry about dealing with negative reviews often found on other platforms, as unlike other platforms, the Circle of Trust is a place to advocate businesses - if someone would not recommend a business they don't add it to their circle. The app will allow small businesses to showcase their work and the positive recommendations they receive, in turn, building trust and credibility.
Tracy Johnson, co-founder of the Circle of Trust, says, “The idea for the Circle of Trust actually started on a piece of paper over five years ago. I was on the hunt for a reliable childminder and it hit me - there was no easy way to find someone trusted and recommended by the people I know. I was thinking about all the friends, contacts and networks I had made through the years and how we are all connected.
“I realised that each one of us has our own recommendations that we want to share, and in turn, we trust the recommendations of our friends and families the most. Everyone has, and can be a part of a Circle of Trust.
“I wanted to find a partner who shared the same values as me and someone who would help me bring this concept to life. As soon as I met Susanna, I knew she was the one to help me bring the Circle of Trust to life.
“Everyone involved in the Circle of Trust is a trusted connection of mine or has been developed through trusted connections of mine. We chose the hexagon, alongside the circle, as the emblem of the Circle of Trust as it visually represents the six founding members, who are all connected in some way.
“We have big plans for the Circle of Trust and we are counting down the hours until we go live on October 12th.”
Susanna Lawson, co-founder comments, “As soon as I met Tracy, I instantly recognised the problem that the Circle of Trust would solve and I wanted to be involved. Her passion and positivity is infectious.
“The Circle of Trust will not only help and be invaluable to people but to businesses too. It’s especially hard for smaller businesses to get noticed and so this gives them a genuine platform to showcase their work. We are on a mission to make life easier and to help businesses shine.
Tracy "TJ” Johnson has worked in Manchester for many years in various roles such as interior design, premises management, office culture and lots more. She has a diverse network due to the different sectors she has worked in including finance, property, recruitment and marketing and is now excited to be a part of the Manchester tech community helping businesses thrive.
The Circle of Trust has also successfully gained a spot in the NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator program, a six-month initiative designed for start-ups and entrepreneurs striving to launch or expand their business endeavours.
Susanna Lawson is a highly accomplished tech leader. Her track record includes successfully founding and exiting her previous education technology company OneFile.
She has won the King’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation twice, among many other prestigious awards, including the Forward Ladies/HSBC Business Woman of the Year, 2017. Susanna is also a non-executive director in several other education and technology businesses.