09 January 2019
It impacts how our society functions daily—who we do our banking with, restaurants we eat at, what doctors we choose, and the airlines and pilots we decide to put our lives in the hands of.
Customers have more presence, power, and choice than ever before. Yet, there continues to be a constant search for stability, credibility, and truth.
According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, the battle for trust is seemingly dormant—yet, volatility is brewing beneath the surface. Trust in companies headquartered in the U.S. dropped five points from 55 to 50% in the last year, after having fallen from 61% in 2014.
So, how do we create meaningful relationships when our consumers are engulfed by doubt in their search for truth?
It can’t be done overnight, but there are strategies that can increase the trustworthiness of your brand. Here are a few ideas to consider to forge deeper connections:
Content is the Gateway to Trust
When fake news threatens real news, the origin of content begins to matter more. It’s no longer a question of how you can use content to enhance consumers’ perception of your brand and their trust in it—it’s a necessity.
Through content-related experiences, “moments of truth,” if done right, can drive lifelong commitment to your brand, build and reinforce trust, and generate inbound leads. For example, the Hubspot Demand Gen Report, found that 96% of B2B buyers look for more information from industry thought leaders before buying. And 47% of these buyers viewed 3–5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales representative.
By using social listening and monitoring tools, you can collect millions of online conversations that reveal your customers’ concerns. Deep-rooted in these insights are human behavior—their pain points, emotions, and preferences. By determining what is troubling your customers, you’ll earn the right to participate in their dialogue and begin to build trust.
Data is Rapidly Taking Control
We are still learning why people are drawn to some brands and not others. And it’s glaringly obvious that a brand’s reputation and how people feel is influencing their purchasing decisions, making it nearly impossible to achieve critical goals that face organizations without being data-smart.
Unfortunately, many brands don’t do enough to understand their customers and how the business can meet their needs. Companies that broaden their reach can open more doors and foster greater trust.
Data is the source of performance advantage that helps marketers peel back their consumers’ emotional layers and unlock their nonconscious needs and desires. However, marketers must still know how to take advantage of these insights.
Countless amounts of time, budget, and resources are poured into researching these vital insights that can lead to a content marketing win—content that speaks to their customers’ “higher order motivations”—and breaks free of the corporate marketing echo chamber.
“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”? Aristotle
Consumers are connected to one another more than ever before. And the emergence of tribal communities is dictating their expectations of content and how they choose to engage with brands.
Consumers can filter, resist, and reject irrelevant messages and share their experiences about products and services with their communities—aka tribes.
Seth Godin discusses the tribal movement in his book Tribes and the hunger for genuine connection. When people are introduced to the power of a community, they are forever changed. The best brands are the ones that build a “belonging.”
One B2B brand aware of the impact of trust is the Marketo Community, that engages and rewards their customers through their live events and digital channels. It’s a place where tens of thousands of marketers around the world can share best practices and learn together. Another company going the extra mile as a B2C example is Nike, with its Nike’s Run club app, which incorporates an online and offline experience to inspire its community to live an outdoorsy lifestyle.
Creating Trust is a Journey, Not a Destination
You’re never done building trust. Maintaining consistency ensures that your prospects and customers know what to expect. Lay the foundation with your building blocks: your message and a genuine desire to meet customer needs.
It does take time and patience, but for those marketers who put in the work, building trust can deliver multiple benefits—for both your business and the customer.
Once you’ve carved out your identity in the marketplace, be vigilant about your communication, and continue to invest in securing that trust. Consistently deliver expected brand experiences with the right content, to the right people, at the right time.
To help businesses find a path through this transition we have published the New Truths for Brands Study. The study gives brands a behavioral blueprint to guide them as they try to build trust with contemporary consumers. If you'd like to discuss this topic further, please get in touch. We have a host of case studies that illustrate how to build trust and would love to talk them through with you.