As brands are looking for new ways to stay at top of mind and build the preference as their customers’ first choice, marketers are rewiring their strategic plans for the foreseeable future. While the debate is still out on what the ROI is on building a reputation as a trusted brand, Edelman’s Brand Trust in 2020 Report has already published that “70% of U.S. respondents said trusting a brand today is more important to them than it was in the past.”
So what do brands do now that they can’t rely solely on fear-based marketing or influencer marketing. According to the study done my Edelman, the answer may be in trust-based marketing: the concept that a relationship with a customer is built through a trustworthy narrative and unbiased toward the consumer. It is relationship based, driven by transparency and the ability to adapt and react to the consumers needs. Need a literal example? Remember the “Transfarency” campaign by Southwest Airlines? They heard the complaints of travelers who were inundated with checked bag fees and in-flight services and responded with a simple message.
Using the word “Transfarency” as a play on the word transparency, they built trust with their customers that when they purchased a ticket, they wouldn’t have the hassle of extra fees when they check-in for their flights. Mots importantly, their persistent dedication to enhancing the customer experience allowed the company broke the top ten list for Airline Weekly’s 2018 annual Global Earnings Scorecard and cemented that their “maverick” approach on how they’ve chosen to their business while maintaining commitment to their low-cost model served them well.
So, how do you build brand-trust in the first place? It’s more than just following the 5-best-ways to build consumer trust.. but I will give you a few suggestions to get your wheels turning about how you can build a trusted relationship with your customers:
- Like the Southwest Airlines’ campaign, building a reputation for transparency can be a cornerstone of building trust. According to a study evaluating how companies use transparency in response to a crisis, those that already had a reputation for transparency were automatically seen as more trustworthy. Transparency can be shown in a number of ways from managing reviews to being proactive about reporting any bad news before your customers find out about it. Think about the last time you heard directly from a company you trusted regarding a security breach and what they plan to do to resolve it, instead of getting an alert from your credit reporting service? By being the first to bring the issues forward and presenting a solution you will undoubtedly strengthen the trust in your customers along the way.
- Use social media as a channel to bear your authenticity and aspiration in serving your customers’ needs. Through social media not only can you meet your brand promise, but you can show the human side to your business. Ingest your followers’ content regularly, know who they are and what they love about you, and don’t love about you. Another benefit to familiarity with your brand on social media is the ability to act rapidly in the event there’s a crisis, either with your brands or your customer set. A great example of this happened with Scholastic. With the rapid onset of schools shutting down and the reality of families spending 24/7 at home while working and schooling, the company stepped up to the plate with their #OperationStoryTime campaign. They were able to enlist authors and celebrities who shared videos of themselves hosting story time in an effort to build connections for the family unit.
Take a step back and put yourself in your customers’ shoes. They’re often wanting to make an informed decision and often have several choices at their horizon. If you’ve already developed a preference for your brand and a trusted relationship with them, you’re making that decision easier for them. As Dr. Glen L. Urban, professor and former dean of the MIT Sloan School of Management, the originator of trust-based marketing has argued that “Trust-based companies have higher customer retention and more stable revenue streams. The prediction is that trust-based businesses will, in the end, have higher sales volumes and lower marketing costs than companies that survive on push-based marketing strategies.”
Try it out for yourself and see what happens when you layer in trust-based tactics to your marketing plan.