Is Your Brand Trusted? Why Authenticity is Critical to Customer Loyalty


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Consumers are jaded. They want to do business with companies they feel are transparent, address their concerns, and are trustworthy.

Rimma Perelmuter, CEO of Mobile Ecosystem Forum which puts out an annual Global Consumer Trust study commented, “[There is a] paradigm shift with the emergence of the ‘Savvy Consumer’. The industry needs to shift its mindset and default to a position of putting the consumer first. The opportunity is to design products and services or create new business models that are based on a fair and trusted value exchange in order to meet changing consumer demands.”

The importance of consumer trust was echoed in comments from a survey presented by the McCann Truth Central Unit at the 4A Transformation conference in which it was noted that, “Some 42% of Americans find brands and companies less truthful today than 20 years ago,…”

Trinity Mirror in conjunction with Ipsos Connect, conducted a study on trust and found that “almost half of consumers (42%) distrust brands, 69% distrust advertising. Meanwhile, 37% of consumers trust brands less than they used to, compared to only 7% who trust brands more than they used to. Some 43% of respondents trust advertising less than they used to, compared to only 8% who trust it more than before.”

So, here is the critical takeaway from the study every marketer must keep in mind:
“58% of adults don’t trust a brand until they have seen ‘real world proof’ that it has kept its promises.” Zoe Harris, group marketing director at Trinity Mirror commented, “Brands need to think about how they can connect with people in their day to day lives and whether their proof points are actually resonating. Is your message actually getting across?”

So what do consumers judge when they are evaluating the trust factor? Authenticity.
Pert the Cohn & Wolfe’s 2017 Authentic Brand study, 91 percent of consumers would reward a brand for its authenticity and 62 percent said they would either purchase a product from a brand they deem to be authentic or express greater interest in buying from that brand in the future. Lynn Fisher, Cohn & Wolfe EVP, Global Director/Insights Group, said, “…It’s not only about how a brand has stood the test of time. It’s also about how much a brand is demonstrating a commitment to making things better going forward. Consumers are looking for cues that a brand is not only interested in making money but interested in improving people’s lives…

Per all these points; How trusted is your brand?


  1. Transparency BuildsTrust.
    Know what consumers want to know about your company and its products by monitoring social media, chat, email, and phone inquiries. Then offer the means for consumers to access this information. For example, Hershey’s understood that there is mistrust regarding their sources and supply chains. So, they are now beginning a transparency initiative that utilizes an interactive tool for consumers so they can trace an ingredient’s sourcing journey directly from the farm.
  2. Helping, Not Selling, Drives Value
    Regarding a paper published in the Journal of Marketing, by Northeastern University, Marketing professor Koen Pauwels  commented, “Consumers look to their peers before making purchasing decisions, which is why earned social media is so valuable…Rather than spending marketing dollars on owned social media to persuade customers to buy …marketers … should … target customers to improve brand awareness and customer satisfaction…Due to the value-relevance of customer satisfaction, [Social Media] that is targeted toward helping customers post-purchase, addressing their concerns…is much more valuable…” 

In summary, here’s the key takeaway as noted by the Northeastern University study, “corporations with high credibility are far more likely than brands with low credibility to increase purchase intent.” A brand’s trust and value quotient needs to be continually nurtured through accessible transparency, interactive consumer conversations, and demonstrated value-driven actions.

Ernan Roman
Ernan Roman (@ernanroman) is president of ERDM Corp. and author of Voice of the Customer Marketing. He was inducted into the DMA Marketing Hall of Fame due to the results his VoC research-based CX strategies achieve for clients such as IBM, Microsoft, QVC, Gilt and HP. ERDM conducts deep qualitative research to help companies understand how customers articulate their feelings and expectations for high value CX and personalization. Named one of the Top 40 Digital Luminaries and one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Marketing.


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