For today’s consumers, choosing a brand to buy from is about much more than the product itself. After all, no matter what anyone is shopping for—from business software to pet supplies to clothing—any number of brands offer comparable products at comparable values. So, what sets one brand apart from the rest? How do customers choose where to spend their money? Overwhelmingly, this decision is based on trust.
- 81% of consumers want to buy from brands they trust to “do the right thing” (Edelman).
- 90% of consumers are willing to pay more when it comes from a brand they trust. (Salsify).
- 71% of global consumers say they’ll stop purchasing from a brand altogether if their trust is broken (Adobe).
What does it mean to trust a brand? These customers are looking for brands they can be confident will deliver consistently great experiences—before, during, and after purchase—demonstrate strong integrity, and share their social values.
And how can brands build that trust with their customers? It starts with communication. Consumers expect—both consciously and subconsciously—to be able to interact with brands in certain ways, online and off, both before and after they make a purchase. If those expectations are met, a brand is more likely to be perceived as trustworthy. If not…well, customers will be quick to look elsewhere.
Here are three characteristics of brand communication that builds customer trust.
A potential customer’s trust in a brand is built, in part, on the brand’s perceived integrity and competence, and both of these can be communicated—largely subconsciously—through consistency in communication. Think about a time when you received mixed messages from a brand or an individual. Did you wonder whether they were trying to hide something? Or whether they were struggling to get organized behind the scenes? The same thing will happen when customers receive contradictory messages from brands. (And it’s not just the messaging, either—design inconsistencies can also be a barrier to trust.)
So, to build trust with customers, brands need to start by investing in omnichannel marketing campaigns that ensure their audiences are seeing the same core messages, in the same colors, fonts, and design schemes, across every channel. This consistency will breed familiarity (research shows that a signature color can cause an 80% increase in brand recognition) and the impression that a brand is operating with integrity and firing on all cylinders.
Next, those messages have to be relevant to the target audience—because no matter how consistent they are, if they’re providing outdated information or information that doesn’t matter to the recipient, they’re going to erode trust faster than they build it.
Relevance, at its most basic, means providing up-to-date information. Think current sales as opposed to expired promo codes, and information on the latest policies and procedures. (In fact, Edelman reports that 88 percent of customers hope or expect brands to “keep the public fully informed regarding changes in how the brand is operating and in how to gain access to its products and services.”)
But relevant messaging is also more than that. For brands with retail presence in multiple areas, making messaging relevant means localizing it with information and language that’s pertinent to every community. Think local store contact information and hours, regional terminology (soda vs. pop), etc.
It’s also tailored to the audience’s history with the brand, showing products, services, and offers that are relevant to previous interactions. Customers, both new and existing, want to feel as though brands value them and want their business, specifically, and creating relevant, personalized marketing campaigns is a powerful way to ensure they do.
A significant driver of customer trust in a brand is alignment with core social values and ethics. In fact, 77% of consumers want to buy from brands that share their values, and 55% believe companies can play a bigger role than governments in creating a better future.
So, trust-building communication needs to go beyond consistent design and captivating messages. It also needs to highlight your company’s values. Did your organization make a significant donation to a global charity or organize a company-wide volunteer day for a local nonprofit? Does your organization support sustainability issues? Let your followers know! Share your impact via social media marketing, email newsletter, and more in order to show potential customers why particular social initiatives are important to your company, how it was executed, and what kind of impact it had on the community. Consumers today want more business engagement on social issues, and when potential customers see how dedicated a company is to social values that align with theirs, that brand will become a frontrunner in their purchasing decision.
The Right Tools for Building Trust
For most brands—particularly those with representatives and local marketers scattered across the country, and beyond—creating consistent, multichannel marketing campaigns that provide personalized, localized, up-to-date messaging and spotlights corporate values in a way that will resonate with customers is a tall order. To lighten the load, we recommend streamlining marketing management by providing a centralized brand hub for national and local marketers. With a centralized content repository, pre-approved and customizable templates, automated approval workflows, and self-service print ordering, the right platform can empower marketers to create engaging, personalized campaigns that build trust with current and potential customers. At OneTouchPoint, we pride ourselves on doing just that with our U.Connect platform, lifting the logistics burden by simplifying access to branded materials, templates, and production and distribution resources, and letting marketers focus on what matters: building strong relationships with their audiences. To learn more, we invite you to contact us today; our experts will provide insights and ideas to deliver phenomenal results at a great price.