Who do you turn to for reliable information? What organizations do you view as credible? Who – or what – do you trust?
Turns out, these questions are becoming harder for Americans to answer. As Pew Research found in 2019, “three-quarters of Americans say their fellow citizens’ trust in the federal government is shrinking and 64% believe that about other peoples’ trust in each other.” These low levels of trust have far-reaching implications for our culture, especially in the business world, where building and maintaining trust with clients directly impacts the bottom line.
Establishing your business as a trusted, credible brand is an ongoing process and a team effort. Your marketing, frequently the first brand communication a potential customer encounters, is a key place to lay the groundwork to cultivate lasting trust.
Why Should Trust Matter to Your Business?
Of course, your business wants to be regarded as credible and trustworthy among customers, stakeholders and the general public. While trust can seem like an abstract and subjective concept, it has repeatedly proved itself a prominent driver of customer retention and growth – a critical piece of many organizations’ success.
The Edelman Trust Barometer is an annual survey conducted to gain a deeper understanding of how trust plays a role in consumers’ purchasing decisions, and how this affects businesses across eight large markets, including the United States. According to the 2019 Barometer:
- In seven out of eight markets, businesses were trusted more than governments.
- 67% of consumers said, “a good reputation may get me to try a product, but unless I come to trust the company behind the product, I will soon stop buying it.”
- Trust is a deciding factor in a brand buying decision; trusted companies are more likely to see brand advocacy and loyalty – customers who are more likely to return or recommend your company to others.
What Marketing Assets Matter When Building Trust?
Your marketing can help your brand take ownership of its public-facing image and, in turn, build trust over time. But earning lasting trust among your target audience cannot be achieved through one tactic alone. Instead, approach building trust with a strategic mindset that incorporates all sides of your business’ communication and outreach.
Consider the following to earn your customers’ trust, keep them coming back and turn them into brand advocates include:
- Accessibility – Earning trust requires empathy, so put yourself in your target customers’ shoes. They need clear, concise and easily accessed information on how your product fits into their lives or serves their business needs. A website or pamphlet that feels like a dead-end maze of industry jargon or useless fluff is more likely to alienate than intrigue. FAQ pages, how-to videos, free mini-courses and training sessions can dispel confusion or uncertainty about your business. These materials also provide an easy route to find more information, showing you value visitors’ patronage and want them to get the most out of your service.
- Authentic Storytelling – Instead of simply saying your product is the best (and expecting customers to immediately believe you), spark their curiosity and ignite their imaginations with authentic, relatable and personable storytelling. Acknowledge your potential clients have challenges, aspirations and dreams – and show how you can help them reach their highest potential.Your content marketing strategy can put storytelling front and center through blogs, social media campaigns, videos and infographics. You can even ask your most loyal brand advocates to share their own experiences.
- “Real World” Proof – You might be confident your product or service trumps all competitors, but what evidence or data do you have to support your business claims? Here’s where whitepapers and case studies can play a prominent role in building trust among prospects. These documents offer supportive examples with quantifiable results that demonstrate the value of a product or service. In other words, it shows your potential clients there are people like them with similar obstacles who used your product or service to become more successful.
- Third-Party Validation – Your owned media (your branded website, blogs, social media channels, collateral, etc.) are important, but coverage from media, industry analysts and blogs (also known as “earned media”) is considered even more trustworthy. In fact, according to Cision’s 2019 State of the Media, 92% of consumers trust earned media. This is where PR and marketing work hand-in-hand to enhance trust, through landing media interviews, penning guest articles or even winning awards.
Earning your audience’s trust doesn’t happen overnight, and it takes a lot more than a perfectly curated Instagram page or a flashy website. Just like the relationships in our lives, building trust takes work, thought and time.
One of the best first steps in becoming a widely trusted brand is enlisting the support of a skilled PR and marketing team. Aker Ink takes an experienced and well-rounded approach to strengthening a brand’s credibility – whether you’re just starting out or you’re more established. Interested? Reach out for more information.