In such a fiercely competitive market, brand trust is the crucial differentiator to stand out against competitors, with just 34% of consumers trusting the brands they purchase from.

  • Consumers are exposed to more options than ever before when choosing out of the hundreds of brands and the products or services they offer.
  • When a brand has earned a consumer’s trust that consumer will be more loyal to the brand and in turn, advocate for and defend the brand’s reputation.
  • When determining whether or not to trust a brand, a consumer will look to three main factors: product experience, customer experience and a brand’s impact on society.

62% of consumers are loyal to brands they trust

In the dynamic modern-day marketing world, brands are not only expected to engage their audiences and stand out against the masses of content they are exposed to, but they are also expected to earn their trust - this is made increasingly difficult by an audience that does not want to be directly advertised to.

What makes a brand trustworthy?

According to research conducted by Edelman, the top reasons why consumers trust brands are as follows:

  • A brand that delivers continually high-quality products or services.
  • Receives good ratings and reviews, which encourages word-of-mouth marketing.
  • A brand that charges a fair price for its products or services.
  • A brand that treats its customers well and values their loyalty.

Why has trust been lost?

“It’s no longer enough to have a great product or service, you have to build a deep relationship with your customers.” Stephanie Buscemi, CMO of Salesforce.

There are many contributing factors to the lack of trust between brand and consumer, but the root of these issues comes down to brands not acting on what they promise.

For example, 2018 saw the Cambridge Analytica scandal break and this undoubtedly did irreparable damage to consumer trust after the company harvested the personal data of millions of Facebook members without consent. Before the scandal, 79% of the platform’s users said they believed Facebook was committed to protecting the privacy of their personal information. Just one week after the news was revealed, this number dropped drastically to 27%. This incident planted a seed of distrust in consumers and now when using social media, making online purchases or subscribing to sites, consumers have the red flag of ‘data privacy’ plaguing their experience.

56% of brands use societal issues as a marketing ploy to sell more of their product.

By 2020, Gen Z is set to comprise 40% of the global population and as a demographic, they are responsible for making more belief-driven purchases in their search for the truth behind brands. It is no longer enough for brands to shout about societal issues, Gen Z and Millennials are too savvy and will call out brands that do not follow these words with actions.

Actions speak louder than words

“Consumers are wary that brands are ‘trustwashing’ and being less than truthful about their commitment to society. Talking about an issue in an ad isn’t enough. Brands need to go further to impact real change.” Amanda Glasgow, Global Chair of Brand Edelman.

Dove Men+Care Championing Paternity Leave:

With this campaign, Dove Men+Care aims to improve access to paternity leave as they believe that paternity leave policies are not being developed in line with current cultural shifts, with many countries having no law regarding paternity leave.

Dove, in partnership with MenCare, is working together to make a difference to this issue they have identified and as a result, they have set up the Dove Men+Care Global Paternity Leave Standard. This policy ensures that all of their employees worldwide will receive paid paternity leave.

Dove’s campaign shows initiative and a true desire to change a societal issue they feel their consumers would benefit from. In not only producing a campaign but also extending it to benefit their employees, they have successfully presented themselves as a trustworthy brand to their consumers.

Dove is just one example of a brand acting on important issues relevant to their consumers. Whether a brand is focusing on developing programs to help societal and environmental issues or investing more time to improve the consumer journey, genuine connections between brand and consumer are only formed when each customer is humanised and treated as an individual. A brand’s biggest asset is its customers, without them, a business has no hope in succeeding and to earn trust, this is where brands need to focus their efforts.

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