Have you ever found yourself wondering if people are more cynical these days?
It’s not just nostalgia. Consumers and brands have some pretty bad trust issues: according to a recent survey from McCann, 42% of Americans find brands and businesses less trustworthy than they were just twenty years ago. Ouch.
Then again, who can blame them? The current political divide has the country more distrustful of one another than at any time in living memory. Besides, a lot of advertising IS phony and inauthentic. And the experts agree: inauthenticity is one of the fastest ways to sink your brand.
So businesses are being presented with a unique challenge: how do we show we’re honest when most Americans seem predisposed to think of business owners as money-grubbing liars?
So we know that building brand trust may be harder than it was in 1997, but you know what we think? Big deal! Business has always been about adapting to change: getting consumers to trust you is no different.
Here are Drive’s tips for marketing and advertising that’s effective in building brand trust.
1st Tip for Building Brand Trust: Be honest about who you are and what you do.
We know what you’re thinking: yes, of course. But think about it: how many businesses show off the true face of their brand, warts and all?
Are you as authentic as Laphroaig’s Opinions Welcome campaign, where they’ve aired clips of customers saying their Scotch tastes like “tar” or like it was “aged with a yoga mat?”
How about Burger King’s ads with stores on fire…because sometimes flame grilling a burger doesn’t work out so well?
Maybe they don’t always show off the company in a flattering light, but ads like these build trust and demonstrate authenticity. In a day and age where people tune out phony, boastful ads, sometimes highlighting your flaws is an excellent way to get people’s attention and show them you’re being honest.
Last but not least, watch for “little white lies” or distortions of the truth in your advertising. For example, if you’re a budget brand, don’t market your products as high-end, luxury items. If you market your products as “inexpensive” and “high-quality,” people may wonder where you truly fall on the scale.
Follow up on every last promise in your advertising, and never make a promise you can’t keep.
2nd Tip for Building Brand Trust: Walk the walk if you’re going to talk the talk.
When it comes to brand trust, actions aren’t just louder than words: they’re deafening in comparison.
Take Patagonia. Saying you’re environmentally friendly in a press release is one thing — donating 1% of your sales to environmental causes is another.
Similarly, you can talk all day about causes, but few brands have the guts to take a stand on divisive issues. Regardless of your politics, it’s worth noting that Nordstrom’s stock climbed 4% after dropping Ivanka Trump’s clothing line, despite backlash from Trump supporters.
Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, there’s something to be said for earning the loyalty of a niche market.
It doesn’t even have to be anything divisive, either. If you advertise yourself as a member of your community, back that up with events to give back. Alternatively, try partnering with local non-profits to distribute free food or products to those in need.
The point is, taking action shows your audience that you’re not all talk and that you do truly care about things like your community, the environment, etc…you know, all the things your audience cares about! Taking action on something helps build brand trust.
3rd Tip for Building Brand Trust: Interact with audiences online and demonstrate that you’re hearing their feedback.
One of the biggest sources of brand distrust is the fact that many brands struggle with humanizing their brand. Consumers won’t see your business as real humans until you show them.
Responding to comments online and engaging with your audience online is a great way to show the human side of your brand. When someone is actually responding to their comments and questions, they’re not only endeared, but they’ll be more likely to trust you.
Furthermore, nobody trusts a brand unless they believe the brand actually cares about their audience. One way to demonstrate concern for your audience is incorporating their feedback.
When appropriate, incorporating feedback from your audiences – and explaining that you’re making decisions with their feedback in mind – shows that you’re truly listening and that you care about them.
4th Tip for Building Brand Trust: Bring value to your audience.
Until you show them otherwise, most people will assume that you are in business for one reason only: to make money. As a result, it’s easy for people to assume that you view them as nothing more than dollar signs.
An easy way to break that assumption is by bringing VALUE to your audience. Find a way to show them that you view them as human beings first and foremost.
This can be done in a number of ways. Primarily, deliver high-quality products and services at reasonable prices.
Bring value to your customers to demonstrate that you put THEM first, not revenue. People are smart and know when you view them as opportunities for sales vs human beings.