Recent research has uncovered the growing association of customers’ trust with brands’ success. In three years, buyers’ belief-driven buying behavior shifted to trust and relatability to brands.
With the pandemic, brands are expected to show trustworthiness and fairness. Buyers are more and more concerned with brand value and customer safety than excitement.
Let’s dive into a deeper analysis of how buying criteria have changed, and how your brand can leverage these new areas of interest to grow.
Trust and brand equity: the 2021 report
The 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: Trust, The New Brand Equity, has surveyed over 14,000 consumers in 14 countries to uncover how brands are now expected to show they contribute to improving society.
In the pandemic, businesses have won customers by standing competent and ethical. Previously, brands were limited to cultural relevance but now society, purpose, and culture significantly impact a brand’s image and success.
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Branding is more than just a business
According to this report, 86% of customers not only expect quality products, they expect a brand to get involved in:
- Financial support to good causes and creating a positive change
- Addressing social issues and supporting local communities
- Supporting art and culture, making the culture more accepting
- Saying no to misinformation
Brands that focus on making the world a better place attract 63% more customers, and people show more support to brands with “we” values. These types of brands like to highlight societal values, needs, and actions to take for a better future ahead, altogether.
Win consumers’ trust to conquer the market
Consumers go for the brands they trust.
40% of consumers leave the brands they love because of trust issues. This switch is more common in high-income people. Therefore, trust is the most vital factor in business.
People expect a timely response from the brand on hot news at most within a few days. 54% favor that the brands should issue a public statement, while 51% want the brand’s CEO to speak over the issue publicly. Trust is proportional to growth. It keeps loyal people attached to businesses, they make more purchases, become advocates, and remain engaged. Engagement is what truly makes a business stand out, and to do so, successful brands go for a greater purpose, provide society analysis, and bring change in culture accordingly. The innovation that blends all three features is bound to succeed.
Trust Driving Factors
Here are some actionable guidelines for your business to leverage this change of consumer behavior.
Choose a cultural playing field
Culture affects the seismic shift values of a country. The cultural landscape also controls society more than a pop influence. It gets shaped by purpose. Brands that impact the culture positively lift the trust.
Go for the desired cultural change
People want to create a change through purchasing from specific brands. Speak out regarding important issues and build your trust to make customers feel like they are supporting a good cause when buying your product.
Leverage trust to grow
Brands don’t just succeed with ability and competence. While it’s essential to provide good products, you can also win using emotional impact and creating a connection with customers. This is trust. Trusted bands receive advocacy, purchase, and loyalty.
Go environmentally friendly
Brands impact the environment. Therefore, you can improve your perceived value with more environment-friendly products. COVID-19 pandemic has increased the public reliance on brands; they expect them to keep them safe. Make sure your products are aligned with these expectations.
Brand trust and social responsibility
People expect brands to bring change and make the world a better place. The report highlighted trust (88%) as the leading influential factor. Trust is even more valued than love for a brand (81%): people rely more on the brands they trust rather than the ones they love. Along with trust, consumers value businesses that show they make effort to have a positive impact on the environment.
Consumers affect the way businesses work
Times have changed. Now, consumers have the power to change almost anything on a business or a brand. With the internet and social media, anyone can become a journalist and denounce a company’s bad practices. The report showed that 78% of consumers believe that they bring the following societal changes:
- Improve labor practices
- Reduce carbon
- Pay a fair tax share
- Manufacture products in the country
- Increase workforce diversity
- Get the CEO to speak out or get rid of a CEO
Apart from working on product functionality, your business should also work over five trust-building dimensions: purpose, self, integrity, dependability, and ability.
Brands need to speak out and commit to social responsibility
Brands that remain silent over societal issues such as workers’ rights and pay a living wage, the risk of losing consumer trust or being subject to social media bashing. Losing trust is proportional to losing consumers and financial instability.
Companies that understood this point usually speak out regarding top business-related issues such as:
- Paying fair tax share
- Improving healthcare access
- Worldwide protection of human rights
- Fighting with poverty and bringing more equality
- Combatting climate change
Brands that stand on the issues mentioned above get unlimited rewards. Speaking over and working over these issues can be risky, but the rewards outweigh the risk. People end up supporting them and preferring their products over more quiet companies.
Final words on brand trust and next steps
Nowadays, consumers ask for a lot more than just quality products. They want the brand to engage with the community and bring a positive change to the environment. Consequently, successful businesses also care about improving culture to make it more human, equal, and accepting. Brands have the ability to change the way people think, reflect, talk and treat each other. They need to be culturally relevant.If you’re looking for guidance on how to approach and improve your brand image, reach out to our team of experts at Mowgli.