Brand trust is something that a business cannot simply purchase and is built throughout a company’s interactions with its consumers. Everything from the first website or store visit to customer service requests has an effect on brand trust and how a consumer views a company. Solid brand trust is one of the most important aspects of a successful business and creating this high level of trust should be a marketing team’s top priority. 81% of consumers say they need to trust a brand in order to buy from them – if you’re not focusing on trust then you are not supporting your bottom line.
With a higher level of trust comes better access to consumers, including their feedback and data. If a customer trusts a brand, they are more likely to engage with them and provide a variety of input ranging from product reviews to experience feedback. On the data side, with increased trust can come greater access to data. If a brand is transparent about how they intend to use certain segments of data and demonstrate clear value to the consumer eg. to personalize a website experience, then consumers are more likely to entrust a company with that data.
Building this brand trust can be done in a variety of ways that all map back to showing the empathetic and human side of a business. Opportunities include:
Show authenticity: Being authentic is one of the biggest aspects of creating brand trust as 86% of consumers believe authenticity is critical when deciding which business to interact with. In practice, this means a business has clear values it remains true to, and is honest with customers in a range of scenarios, including whether its products are ethically sourced or how it plans to use (and then actually uses) customer data.
Provide transparent data privacy: Trust and transparent data privacy go hand in hand. Brands need to guarantee that privacy is provided at every level – from security to consent management – as today’s consumers expect that all information they provide will be handled properly and as they wish. It will be seen as a betrayal if a consumer found out that their personal data was sold without their permission, or stolen (65% lose trust in a brand after a breach). But transparency is an important part of this as well. If customers don’t know you’re protecting their privacy, or how you’re handling their data, then they still have little reason to trust you.
Focus on customer experience: Creating positive experiences is also vital to business trust and success. Understand what your customers want and need and work to provide this consistently – one of the biggest consumer wants is personalization. Being provided personalized experiences by brands allow customers to feel appreciated and they are much more likely to continue purchasing from a business. Additionally, almost 80% of consumers reported that speed, convenience and knowledgeable help are some of the most important aspects to a positive experience so be sure that your brand is baking this into all steps of the customer journey.
Once the trust is established, it is very easy to break and brands need to ensure they are always thinking about ways to either maintain their current level of trust or build a more solid foundation to create an even stronger trusted relationship. This includes:
Be consistent: Establish consistency across all levels – not only with the way a brand looks and acts but also with the level of choice and transparency that is provided to customers. By showcasing that your brand is consistently working to correct any mistakes and making sure customers are happy, trust will continue to be maintained.
Over-deliver: Customers want to be surprised and delighted by brands and over-delivering on their expectations is a crucial part of trust between the two parties. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began and the majority of brand experiences went online, consumer expectations from brands have increased. For example, post-COVID, customers will expect well designed, easy to use, secure websites. 88% say they’re less likely to return to a website after a bad user experience (UX). With customers expecting more, businesses need to ensure that they are always working to exceed these expectations, not simply meeting them.
Get customer input: Having an ongoing and open dialog with customers is imperative to understand if anything is missing from the brand and the overall experience. This shows both the support of and interest in the customer and their views. By having this dialog and using the knowledge to tailor new offerings or deals, consumers will feel valued which will only help to increase their trust level.
The level of trust between brands and consumers is priceless and it is vital that companies work to build their trust from the beginning by offering privacy and authenticity to their customers. But starting the framework for trust isn’t the only thing they need to be thinking about. It is critical that businesses are evaluating their brand trust on a consistent basis in order to maintain what they have already achieved and to continue building an even more trusted environment.