Brand trust in businesses took a dive in 2018. In the wake of unfavorable news surrounding big brands like Facebook (privacy), United Airlines (customer service) and Equifax (cybersecurity), only 48% of Americans reported that they trusted businesses, according to the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer.
When compared to other countries, the United States suffered among the worst slides — losing 10 points in overall customer trust — down from 58% in 2017.
According to another recent survey, 79% of customers said brands must demonstrate “they understand and care about me” before they consider purchasing. The report by Wunderman also revealed that 89% of American customers said that they are loyal to brands that share their values.
Less trust. Higher customer expectations
Building brand trust is a complex undertaking, especially in an environment of less customer trust and higher customer expectations. As a marketer, you must constantly pay attention to how your brand performing in various areas to develop brand trust, including the following:
Quality product, solution: By monitoring your customers’ responsiveness, and what your competitors are doing, you may find opportunities to improve the quality of your product or solution.
Relevant branding messaging: Assess your brand image and tone to make sure you’re coming across as relevant in the minds of your customers. With so many competing online messages, it’s important that your audiences are able to identify your brand as highly relevant to their needs.
Attentive customer service: Great customer service is high on customers’ radar. Make sure your employees reflect your brand values by investing in internal messaging and training around your brand philosophy. It’s also a good idea to periodically survey clients for feedback on how you’re doing.
Consistency: Along with a distinct brand image, your brand should deliver consistent brand experiences. Whether your customers are interacting with your company’s website, social media or your client support team, the should have a seamless, familiar experience.
Transparency: Another area that contributes to brand trust is your company’s ability to convey honesty — an authentic sense of transparency. Think of it as a layer that supports all aspects of your operations.
With a meaningful content strategy, it’s possible to achieve many of these objectives. The right messaging builds brand trust that’s resilient against product glitches, inconsistent customer service or any other incidences that can blemish your company’s reputation.
Here are three key ways to develop a content strategy that focuses on many of those objectives in building brand trust:
Gain an understanding of who your customers are, what they want
The foundation of a solid content strategy is understanding your customers. When your customers feel as if you understand them — that you know them intimately and are genuinely interested in delighting them and/or solving their problems and challenges, you’ve got customers who are more likely to trust you. You’re able to gain customers for life.
Reach that level of trust by communicating to customers with content that’s ideally crafted to meet their expectations of your brand. Data insights can help build that type of content by gathering data directly from the source — your customers.
The more customers respond to your content, the more insights you can gain on who your customers are and what they want. The progressive nature of this type of content intelligence leads you to improved clarity about your optimal target audience. It allows you to narrow your focus — zeroing in on the personas you should be targeting.
More comprehensive audience insights can help your marketing team better connect with customers as humans with real needs, wants and challenges that need to be met. Incorporate them in your content, personas, messaging, customer service protocols and product development.
These customer insights can lead to more efficiency among both marketing and sales teams, giving them the ability to devote their energies on the type of prospects who are more likely to convert.
Establish a relevant, consistent brand voice
Gaining brand trust also depends upon having a brand voice that’s relevant — one that will resonate with your audiences. While many companies have that written out as part of their brand guidelines, achieving a brand voice on a consistent basis can be challenging with every blog, white paper, video or social media post.
Using data insights gathered about your audiences, create tight creative briefs that give specific direction on the following:
Messaging themes: Content themes that are more likely to engage your audiences, based on previous customer interactions. With highly relevant content that is delivered at the right time in the customer journey, you’re more likely to gain the trust of your prospects.
Consumption type: The right combination of content formats that are effective at different stages of the buyer journey. By continuously delivering consistent messaging in the various media formats preferred by your customers, you come across as more relevant..
Channel: Promotion of your content on channels that are relevant to your preferred customers, such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Facebook, email, Instagram and YouTube. Use data to identify the ideal mix of channels, as well as timing.
With consistency throughout all aspects of your content marketing, you can build a meaningful brand experience for your customers, one that is familiar and trustworthy.
Promote company ethics, values and advocacy
Another critical component of a brand trust strategy involves the human component of your company, the heart of your company.
Customers want to feel that you genuinely care about them and their communities. Recent studies reveal that Millennials and Gen Z especially want companies to show that they stand for something: 61% noted that they preferred brands that demonstrated a commitment to a cause.
When developing brand trust and loyalty initiatives, check to see how closely your brand is aligned with customer expectations about company values, customer service and community outreach.
Choose initiatives that your team also genuinely cares about. By following through in real ways on your commitment, you can further develop brand trust.
In the same way, if you make any claims about your product and service, ensure that you’re backing it up with action — consistently. Consider every interaction with a customer an opportunity to build brand trust or to tear it down. In the age of social media, a bad customer experience can be shared within seconds.
Whether it’s implemented through the efforts of your marketing team or an AI-driven software solution, a data-driven content strategy gives you the ability to make significant progress in all three objectives which, in turn, helps build upon brand trust.
Establishing brand trust as an ongoing pursuit
Gaining brand trust requires an ongoing effort. With a clearer understanding of your customers’ expectations and how to meet them, you can develop natural connections that lead to greater brand loyalty and brand trust.
It also requires devoting the time and resources to internal communications and employee development. A strong brand presence requires that everyone on your team is rallying behind your brand mission and values.
A customer-focused content strategy is essential to enhancing brand trust. Learn how you can streamline the process with Vennli’s artificial-intelligence-driven marketing solution — content intelligence. Talk to us to schedule a demo today.