Trust. It’s a hugely powerful word and one that arguably carries more weight in today’s world than at any other point in history. After all, we’re living in an era where the integrity of news, politicians and big corporations is being relentlessly questioned, day in and day out.
These five little letters conjure up many connotations: from strength and integrity to ability and hope. But when it comes to brands, perhaps none are more important than confidence.
A trusted brand is one that provides absolute assurance and confidence that the expected service or experience will be provided. Without fail. Each and every time.
And that’s massively important. While brand love remains the holy grail that many businesses aim for, the simple fact is that it’s just not an achievable goal for all. There are some sectors that, by their very nature, will never be loved – essential services, for example, that we all need, but do not crave.
Indeed, for brands that operate in these spaces, it’s often utility that matters most. As David Taylor so astutely notes, “People have a lot of things to care deeply about … [sometimes] being the most trusted brand to solve everyday problems is a noble cause.”
So why is trust so valuable? Sometimes, numbers speak louder than words…
1. 83% of consumers trust recommendations from their peers over advertising (source)
We’ve never had greater access to a worldwide community that we do right now, yet when it comes to trusted brands, it remains our immediate peers that still carry the greatest influence. The opinions of friends, families, colleagues and online influencers remains the key driver for recommendations, especially amongst jaded Millennials – an overwhelming 89% of Millennials trust friend or family recommendations more than brand claims. Brands that recognise this and go the extra mile to directly reach out with powerful brand experiences can expect to reap the long-term rewards.
2. 61% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase decision (source)
More and more of us are now turning towards the real-life experience of others before we commit to investing in a product or service ourselves. And it’s little wonder. We live in an age of unrivalled transparency, and that leaves little room for poor brand experiences or shoddy customer service. It also presents a massive opportunity – stand out from the crowd by delivering an exceptional experience, and your appreciative customers (now fans) will do the hard work for you. It’s a recipe for success.
3. 78% of consumers will trust you your brand if you create more customised content (source)
We all want to feel special, and not just a face in a big crowd that’s being marketed too. Customised, personal content is a great way to build a valuable connection and, in the process, trust. Offering customers branded content and personal experiences that resonate with their interests allows for a direct connection to be made and builds the way to long-lasting, two-way trust.
4. 73% of consumers are willing to pay more for a product that promises total transparency (source)
Here’s the real kicker: there’s a significant upside to trust. As well as engendering goodwill and brand loyalty, over two-thirds of consumers are willing to dig deeper into their pockets for a brand or product that they believe is being truthful with them. With 39% of consumers happy to switch to a new brand in the pursuit of product transparency, committing to an open approach, delivering on what you promise, and delighting consumers with positive brand experiences is certainly a sound investment.
5. 94% of consumers are more likely to be loyal to a transparent brand (source)
Of course, trust isn’t built overnight. You must be willing to play the long game to earn it. Pulling out all the stops to provide exceptional experiences, adding value with customised content, cultivating great face-to-face moments, and delivering on promises all adds up to a loyal, and satisfied, customer base.
With nearly 30 years of marketing experience, both client and agency side, I’ve acquired a rare perspective on brands and business: I believe you have to challenge things creatively if you want to grow sales. Consumer technology is reshaping our world, and it’s only the great brands that stay on the crest.