Now, more than ever, consumers are scrutinizing the companies, people and brands that they have either have done business with or are considering to engage with for products and services. They’re seeking out and re-connecting with businesses that will help them feel safe and supported during this time of uncertainty and unrest. Consumers want to align with companies committed to doing their part in rebuilding society.
In fact, Edelman’s latest Trust Barometer Report has found that brand trust is the second most important factor in purchasing decisions, topped only by price. For 53% of 22,000 respondents across 11 markets (South Africa, Brazil, US, Canada, UK, India, Germany, China, France, Japan and South Korea), brand trust was ranked before company reputation, performance, how they treat customers and how easy it is to find and buy. 70% said that trusting a brand is more important today than it was in the past.
Of course, when considering how trustworthy a brand is and how companies establish trust, most of these other factors – especially company reputation and treatment of customers – are naturally determining factors.
So, how can businesses maintain and strengthen trust with customers? I’d say that it mainly boils down to authenticity. To be authentic is to ensure that our actions and words are congruent with our beliefs and values – not an imitation. What good is a strong mission statement or a post on social media proclaiming your societal commitment if they’re not acted upon when action is needed most? This is the time where authenticity can shine and your company’s beliefs and values should be at the forefront of business operations.
If community is a core value for your brand, for example, consider how you can best recognize your employees, support your corporate team and give back to your local communities to show your appreciation. Associate your brand with content that alleviates anxiety and relates to your audience on a human level. Now is not the time to pursue marketing initiatives solely for commercial benefit – consumers will be quick to recognize your authenticity and true purpose.
Finally, it’s important to be as empathetic and transparent as possible. The world is in a vulnerable state, and being open and honest about how you’re keeping your employees and customers safe and following through on your pledges, even in these uncertain times, is essential in solidifying trust. No matter what your strategies may be moving forward, there’s no avoiding the importance of the trust you build and the authenticity of your actions and long-term commitments.