Trust Defines Brands
Advertising is losing its influence over consumers. People are increasingly turning to ad blockers and finding ways to avoid ads.” There is a place for advertising,” says Mark Babbitt, the American Marketing Association CEO. – “Brands should use marketing to solve problems – 60% of consumers prefer ads that focus on helping them during the coronavirus crisis.” The truth is that consumers increasingly distrust advertising because too many brands have diluted its use.
Brands need to advocate for change and inspire hope. Consumers will reward brands for taking a stand and using their scale for good. It has been driven by several factors, including the increased focus on corporate social responsibility and environmental sustainability across all sectors of society. Consumers will reward brands they trust.
Brand Trust is not for sale.
In Edelman’s research, personal experience and earned reputation were the two most essential factors in gaining or losing trust among respondents.
The best brands have earned trust by delivering on their promises: they’ve gained confidence by being transparent, listening to their consumers, and providing value. They’ve built trust by being reliable and taking the time to do so. Brand Trust is one of the most important aspects of any business, but it does not happen overnight. It is a slow and complicated process with no catalysts and no accelerators.
Why is building brand trust important?
Brand Trust is an essential factor in business. First and foremost, trust lowers the barrier to entry. It makes the first transaction more likely. At the same time, brand trust is the missing link between a brand and loyal consumers. Of course, loyalty is not quickly earned. Value for the money is a critical ingredient in the mix. Brands’ ability to solve relevant problems for their customers is a crucial influencer of future purchase experiences. But also the personal experience, pre-/during/post-purchase, is a vital driver of loyalty. Your brand consistency. Your brand reliability. Your brand quality. But, while the first purchase always requires a leap of faith, customers will only stick to a brand they trust for as long as they trust the brand.
Making Brand Trust Happen
To build brand trust, we must first understand what it means to our consumers, which are the hurdles of trust. Sometimes these hurdles are brand-related. Sometimes they are sector-specific (e.g., retail, banks, airlines). We need to listen carefully to customers and build unique insights into their needs and preferences. Once we have these insights, we can begin crafting a strategy that resonates with them and creates an emotional connection.
An important caveat: Brands are built through people’s actions, not just by what they communicate to the public. Consumers in this era don’t just buy from brands. The “buy into them.” The brand becomes part of who we are. It’s their identity. And it’s what makes us consumers as they belong. Building Brand trust is really about “walking the talk.”
What are key actions you can take to build trust for your brand?
1) Don’t overpromise, don’t underpromise, just over-perform
It’s all too easy to promise more than you can deliver. It’s especially true if you’re a newcomer to an industry or market. It is essential to know what you are capable of giving before you begin marketing your product or service. Otherwise, you may end up wasting time and money. If you promise to deliver something but don’t deliver it, people will lose trust in your company. They will not believe you any longer. It would help if you always told the truth when you make promises. It would be best if you were realistic. You may even want to add a disclaimer to your website or social media page, stating, “We are still working on our product x.”
2) Be authentic in your storytelling
Authenticity is essential. The best brands tell compelling stories that resonate with their audience. If you want to gain the trust of your audience, then you must inform the truth about yourself and your beliefs. It does not mean you have to tell lies, but you shouldn’t pretend to know something you don’t. Authentic storytelling is an effective way to connect with your audience because it allows you to tell a story about yourself and your brand.
Authenticity is as essential in storytelling as in actions. It’s not only about communicating. It is also about acting authentically. This implies that you must carefully choose your brand values because performing those values must be authentic.
A compelling form of being authentic is being transparent: being forthright and candid about what your brand is doing and why your brand is doing so.
3) Focus on the customer-centric experience
Brands should focus on creating a positive experience throughout the process, from before the purchase, to after the transaction. This means providing clear information and removing all hurdles that are not necessary. As mentioned in CustomerThink:
Simply put, overcomplexity happens when you try to satisfy every possible customer at once. By creating multiple personas for every customer who could ever utilize your product or service, you fail to design an experience that works seamlessly or intuitively for any one of your customers.
Identify a small set of target customer personas rather than attempting to meet all possible needs of all potential customers. After identifying those personas, do some research. You must develop a practical understanding of what the target personas need and what they want. Understand their challenges and preferences. Do not attempt to meet the expectations of every unknown customer. First, build personas, then embark on customer experiences. In a nutshell, focus.
4) Think in terms of relationships, not conversions
If you want to build trust and loyalty among your customers, you need to engage them. This means dumping the traditional marketing and sales funnel while focusing on building a community. For more than a decade, we have known that:
The decision-making process is now a circular journey with four phases: initial consideration; active evaluation, or the process of researching potential purchases; closure, when consumers buy brands; and postpurchase, when consumers experience them.
As a matter of fact, in that same article, the author hammers out:
When consumers reach a decision at the moment of purchase, the marketer’s work has just begun: the postpurchase experience shapes their opinion for every subsequent decision in the category, so the journey is an ongoing cycle. More than 60 percent of consumers of facial skin care products, for example, go online to conduct further research after the purchase—a touch point unimaginable when the funnel was conceived.
Steve Jobs once said that “A brand is simply trust,” highlighting the importance of the notion in branding. The path to brand trust is slow-building but with clear benefits and predictive outcomes for the business.