How people perceive you and your business is a big deal, as not only does it affect your reputation, but it also affects whether it’s successful or not. In fact, brand trust is so important, that a 2019 Edelman Survey concluded that 81% of customers say they will only buy from brands that they trust.
What is Brand Trust?
Brand trust references the confidence that customers have in your business and product – it’s a reflection of whether your branding is consistent and delivers on its promises and stays true to your brand’s values.
There are a few reasons that shoppers trust brands, here are just four of those:
- They deliver quality products and/or services.
- They receive good reviews and ratings.
- Charge fair and consistent prices.
- Have good customer service.
Why is Brand Trust Important?
Brand trust is vitally important if you want to stay in business – if you want customers to keep returning, if you want to get good reviews and for people to recommend you to their friends and family, you need brand trust.
Brand trust can impact buying decisions vastly, after all, how hard has it been to convince people to move to unbranded products over say, Heinz for example when it comes to saving money? Even the prospect of saving money has not been enough for many to swap from their beloved and well-known brands that they have come to trust over many years.
How to Build Brand Trust?
A lack of brand trust can, as you now know, have a detrimental impact on whether a business does well or not. But how do you get there? It is a big task at first, but it is possible. Here’s how:
When it comes to being genuine, it’s important to be honest with customers but also yourself. It’s also important not to be tempted to hide anything from your customers, be it information or about how your product works. Because consumers nowadays are savvier than ever about the brands they’re buying from, it’s important to be there for them more than ever and be open and present for them. If they open a dialogue, say hello. If they ask a question about your brand, answer it. Be there for your customers, and they will be there in return.
Be consistent not just in your customers lives, but also in your branding. When a consumer gets to know a brand and trust it, it can do a lot of damage to stray from your branding afterwards. It can confuse customers and even worse, have them go elsewhere because of that confusion. This consistency is also important when it comes to the quality of your brand, product, and customer service – all of these things must be consistent and eventually, your customers will build trust in you.
Social media is a great way of doing this, so if you aren’t already on there, get on there as quickly as possible! But building relationships is so important when it comes to building your brand trust, and doing it is simpler than you think. Interacting with your customers, as already covered, is the number one way of doing this, alongside adding a personal touch to your customer service with them. Make it personal, interact with them on a human level and respond to them when they try to interact with you. People want to buy from people they like, so make your customers like you!
Get your customers involved
Why not get your customers involved in your business? People enjoy being a part of things and, the more they get involved in your business, the more invested they’ll be in it overall. Why not get customer input on some decisions? Create a poll maybe or ask for their opinion on a product or change? It may even inspire them to purchase that product to try it out because they had an input!
How to Lose Brand Trust?
Whilst building brand trust can take a long time and a lot of effort, losing it can be frighteningly easy. So here are some things to avoid if you don’t want to lose that precious time and effort!
Data breaches and cybercrime are a huge problem for many businesses. There have been many over the years, and nine if them good. For example, back in 2020, EasyJet were very famously hacked, and the data accessed in the breach included travel details email addresses as well as the complete credit card details of 2,208 customers. Because customer credit card information was leaked, this cyber-attack exposed EasyJet’s breach of the General Data Protection Regulation. In 2021, Graff, famous jewellery brand, suffered a data breach compromising many of its famous clients, for the second time. These clients included David Beckham, Oprah Winfrey, and Alec Baldwin, to name a few. Ensure you use strong security measures, back up all of your data securely, regularly audit your security system and communicate the importance of data protection measures with your customers – encourage the use of strong passwords and keeping passwords safe.
Getting social media wrong
Social media is vital for communicating with your customers and clients and building a relationship with them. You can show off your company, products and even give them a sneak peek behind the scenes of your business. But, getting it wrong can be devastating, and can badly impact your business.
Take Coca-Cola for example, who in Christmas 2016 managed to upset both Russia and Ukraine. Whilst this is still topical, the Russian map has been a debatable issue since the annexation of Crimea by Russia from Ukraine in 2014. Not only did the map exclude Crimea, but it also lacked the Kuril Islands, and even Kaliningrad, which has been a globally recognized part of Russia since 1945. The Russian side of the internet was quick to attack the company, but it didn’t end there. The marketers for Coca-Cola of course, listened and reposted a version of the map with all of the above regions, including Crimea – of course, this led to Ukraine becoming enraged, calling for fellow Ukrainians to ban the drink. At the same time, a number of influential Russian figures posted about global American companies accepting the annexation of Crimea despite the official stance of the U.S. and European governments on the issue.
Many officials had to apologize, the map was taken down, people in Russia and Ukraine were left enraged.
The moral of the story here is – if you’re not fully aware or understanding of an issue or subject, don’t post about it, and certainly don’t make it the basis for your marketing campaign!
Of course, this seems incredibly obvious, but it needs to be said that being unethical is a one-way ticket to customers not trusting you as a business and a brand, and the list of things that customers believe is unethical is long!
- 69% said marketing that exaggerates or distorts the truth is unethical
- 64% said marketing that targets or exploits vulnerable groups is unethical
- 62% said marketing that conceals information is unethical
- 58% said marketing that shames things are unethical
- 56% said marketing that uses unrealistic or altered images is unethical
- 56% said marketing that induces fear or anxiety is unethical
- 43% said high pressure sales tactics are unethical
So, whilst the list is long, these are all entirely unavoidable things when considering what we discussed regarding how to build brand trust. At the end of the day, as long as you’re genuine, have a quality product and sell it consistently, all of these problems are entirely avoidable.
Building brand trust is not impossible, but it takes time and effort and can be broken at the drop of a hat if you’re not careful. So beware, for if you cross your customers they may walk and, even worse, talk and when they talk nowadays, that won’t just mean a few friends and relatives – it could mean hundreds of people over social media. But don’t be afraid, if you remain true to your brand, your company/product and yourself, you should be able to build a brand that consumers trust for years to come.