Do brands currently have a rare opportunity to build trust with consumers?
A slew of corporate and governmental scandals and an influx of misinformation have destabilized the public’s trust in many traditional institutions, according to Forrester’s Trust Imperative study. These failings, however, have created “an unprecedented opportunity” for brands to build trust with consumers, employees and other partners.
“Established societal institutions have often failed to unify and guide their communities,” wrote Enza Iannopollo, a senior analyst at Forrester, in a blog entry.
Beyond misinformation, growing uncertainties and concerns over income inequality, job insecurity and social unrest, as well as systemic risks like climate change, pandemics and global recessions, all contribute to a trust void that brands have an opportunity to fill.
The study notes that consumers are giving brands permission to play a bigger role in their well-being: Forty-seven percent of U.S. consumers rely on brands for overall advice on how to stay healthy and about a third (32 percent) look for brand guidance on how to manage stress and anxiety. Similarly, if consumers observe that a company has contradicted its values, 18 percent of U.S. consumers say they would stop doing business with that company permanently.
Forrester’s study highlights the importance of relevance and context in building trust.
“Organizations that succeed at building and continuously reinforcing trust have the unique opportunity to build enduring bonds with customers, attract the best, most dedicated talent, and create unique experiences with an ecosystem of partners and emerging technologies that people embrace, not fear — all while minimizing risk,” wrote Ms. Iannopollo.
Morning Consult’s “Most Trusted Brands 2021” found that, while brands have historically needed to meet rational, functional needs in order to earn the permission to connect emotionally, emotional connection is rapidly becoming as important to initial consideration in the first place.
Morning Consult wrote in the study, ”Accelerated by the events of the past year, loyalty dynamics are undeniably changing as the rise of e-commerce has democratized discovery, consumers experiment more, and switching is easier than ever. Still, transaction-based rewards programs will continue on their trajectory towards interchangeable commodities, while true brand loyalty will be forged by emotionally powered ties that elevate relationships.”
- The Trust Imperative – Forrester
- Trust Is Your Business Imperative – Forrester
- Most Trusted Brands 2021 – Morning Consult
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Has the last year created a bigger opportunity for retailers and brands to build trust with consumers, employees and other stakeholders? What factors have become more important in building trust?