Trust means a lot. To trust something or someone is to honor an institution or individual with your good regard. To enjoy the trust of others is to enjoy a compliment to your reputation. Trust is vital to community cohesion and is a quality that never diminishes in importance. Our individual and collective senses of security have undergone massive challenges recently. That trust is precious has been underscored in this era of collective apprehension.
For marketers, trust is essential to everything we do. Trust’s principles are fundamental to the well-being of a relationship between consumers and a brand. Consumers need to trust brands. Brands need that trust. In short: Brand equals trust.
To maintain and reflect consistent brand trust, especially in turbulent times, is a tall order but is essential to survival. Brands that succeed in earning and securing trust enjoy long-term consumer loyalty.
Below are some questions you need to ask your customers. They will help you ascertain how customer perception evolves. What was true last year may not have currency today. The objective is to help you create a strategy for building and maintaining trust around your brand. Some points may seem more relevant for some businesses than others. Adjust them to suit your needs. Regardless of your business, you will benefit from reinvigorating your brand’s trust level.
Ask your customers the following:
- What does trust mean to you?
- What trust-creating elements do you perceive to be part of our brand’s identity? (e.g., the FedEx promise to deliver on time and in perfect condition may need tweaking to address new perceptions of trust.)
- What additional services or benefits would inspire greater trust in our brand? (e.g., transport and mail-delivery services may need to add security promises to their portfolios.)
Responses should generate enough background information for you to create a plan for increasing your brand’s trustworthiness.
In ascertaining your brand’s trustworthiness, forget about what customers’ answers might have been six months ago. The world has changed. Today, airlines are experiencing customer perceptions that have changed radically over the past weeks. Consumer trust in an airline now requires additional and refurbished elements. In-flight entertainment and airport lounges probably no longer contribute to a sense of trust at all. Emphasizing safety and security procedures may deliver the trust those brands need.
Your brand may in the happy position of enjoying consistent perceptions and undiminished trust. If your customers haven’t changed their minds about what they believe the quality of trust to be and if they still believe your brand delivers what they expect — you don’t need to change your marketing plan.
Others will find their trust-building solutions require a radical new approach that runs contrary to traditional marketing strategies. Products and services will have to be adjusted. You may have to alter your brand’s message. Maybe you need to team up with external partners to ensure that you harness the trust-creating factors consumers want to see in your brand.
Trust me. This exercise will be worth every minute you spend on it.
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