Marketers to Consumers: Trust Us

Discussion
Apr 12, 2005
George Anderson

By George Anderson

It’s not a new concept, but businesses searching for the means of achieving a sustainable competitive advantage are looking to communicate their trust worthiness to customers.

John Drummond, CEO of Corporate Culture out of the UK, suggests that without trust, loyalty cannot exist.

Trust related marketing, as Mr. Drummond calls it, is growing in importance and acceptance for a number of reasons including:

  1. Consumers are more knowledgeable and demanding so retailers have to raise the bar on performance.
  2. Marketers are looking to differentiate. Price, for most, is not a sustainable means for most companies to distinguish themselves from the competition.

The five principles of trust related marketing as described by Mr. Drummond are:

  1. Authenticity – Does what a company says it does match the reality?
  2. Personal benefit – Can the consumer answer what the product does for them?
  3. Empathy — Can the consumer relate to your way of doing business, mission, products, etc.?
  4. Timing — Does the product or service address a current need?
  5. Belief —Does the product or service align with consumers’ strongly held opinions?

Moderator’s Comment: Do you see trust related marketing growing in importance for retailers and other marketers?
What companies do the best job of trust related marketing? What makes them effective?

George Anderson – Moderator

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11 Comments on "Marketers to Consumers: Trust Us"


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Bernice Hurst
Guest
15 years 10 months ago

As Eliza Doolittle once said on stage, “Show me, NOW!” Unlike professional marketers and communicators who follow the advice to “Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them then tell them what you’ve told them” which is surely not a way to build trust at all. It’s all about attitude and demonstration.

Jerry Gelsomino
Guest
15 years 10 months ago

I like Ian Percy’s comments. What does trust have to do with marketing? Trust is what retailers must live and portray toward their customers. I’ve too often experienced a retailer’s employee acting in a condescending manner toward a customer. Product knowledge has been wielded as a tool to weaken the shoppers’ resolve, rather than as a benefit of shopping in that particular store. Trust needs to be demonstrated, not advertised.

Michael Richmond, Ph.D.
Guest
Michael Richmond, Ph.D.
15 years 10 months ago

70% of purchases are made via word of mouth (WOM). Consumers no longer trust advertising and the big CPG’s like the old days. And Wal-Mart is often considered a negative retail target (excuse the pun). So you can see, the problem with trust and loyalty crosses many boundaries. As others have said – the consumer is smarter and will make choices to purchase at the right value for them. Performance is number 1 in non-food and taste is number 1 in the food arena. They will frequent the channels that most consistently provide the right value for them. So, yes, we will see more retailers work on improving trust and loyalty.

Rupa Ranganathan
Guest
Rupa Ranganathan
15 years 10 months ago
John Drummond’s thesis, that the TRUST factor in marketing is on the rise, only means consumer consciousness is on the rise. The continued success of Disease Management companies and Consumer Driven Health channels; and the proliferation of Yoga, Pilates, Diet and self-help health channels signal a battle cry from consumers. And this could be our only hope in today’s’ appalling state-of-the-industry with regard to public and private healthcare. Multicultural marketers also have learned that building trust is the key to building loyalty and gaining access to diverse audiences. Good business sense, if no other altruistic goal, should drive drug manufacturers, healthcare organizations, pharmacy chains and public and private partnerships to build public trust in the current healthcare system. Putting back the trust in marketing is harder to achieve than winning it in the first place. Frequent FDA warning letters, brand recalls and questions about drug safety and labeling are just some issues looming large on the healthcare horizon today. Building trust with consumers or other stakeholders means: -Transparency. Brand and organization is not suspected of… Read more »
Ben Ball
Guest
15 years 10 months ago

Mr. Drummond missed the most important element of trust marketing — Performance.

I can’t say it any better than my grandfather did when describing our family…

“Love is freely given but trust and respect must be earned every day.”

Len Lewis
Guest
Len Lewis
15 years 10 months ago

Trust is something you build up with consumers over time. It’s one of the reasons that a little outfit like Trader Joe’s has become such a phenomenon. People trust them to offer quality products and stand behind them. It’s not just a marketing statement, it’s their mission.

Babette Leforestier
Guest
Babette Leforestier
15 years 10 months ago

We have to regret it but, as corporate social responsibility, trust related marketing is an oxymoron. Marketing students have not learned about it and shareholders don’t understand these words. They know just “bottom line,” at any price.

Dan Lyman
Guest
Dan Lyman
15 years 10 months ago

Trust is a critical element of loyalty and differentiation, especially in perishables where the delivery is so often short of the promise. Recently, I visited the Minneapolis market — home to some excellent upscale retailers. None of their marketing focused on fresh. It focused on quality products, service and experience. Fresh was implicit…table stakes. And guess what — their stuff was beautiful and fresh.

On the other side of town, a conventional retailer advertised the “freshest produce,” “meat,” “seafood,” etc.” in big signs, banners, ads…everywhere. Their stuff was pitiful.

In our research with moms and conventional retailers, they all touched on this theme of broken promises in the perishables arena. The prevalence of mistrust was astounding. Emotionally, they exhibited skepticism and bitterness toward the retailer. As you can imagine, it created a vacuum where the likes of Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s stepped in. The emotional bond was made and the money continues to flow to that bond.

Stephan Kouzomis
Guest
Stephan Kouzomis
15 years 10 months ago

Mr. Drummond has made a key point that retailers must embrace if they are to create shopper loyalty.

What a retailer communicates, whether in advertising and/or at store level, must be seen and actually realized by consumers. This is especially true in the area of consumer service, and the shopping trip experience.

Then trust, or what the retailer communicated and what the shopper experienced, is established. Hence, the sale is the end result; and the consumer will return.

Hmm….

Gene Hoffman
Guest
Gene Hoffman
15 years 10 months ago

Consumers start off trusting everybody, but they always say, “Cut the cards.” After that, brilliant marketing campaigns notwithstanding, gaining trust is in the pudding produced, not the recipe.

Ian Percy
Guest
15 years 10 months ago

Mr. Drummond has it right. Trust is central to customer loyalty and (he didn’t mention this) it’s central to sustainable profitability. He’s got the ingredients for trust right too.

Here’s my problem…

What’s this got to do with marketing? Come on. If you saw a marketing campaign with “Trust Us” as the theme would your trust impulse go up or down?

You can’t market or sell people into trust – you can fool them or bribe them for a momentary interchange, but not for the long haul. Trust is more a matter of how you live or in this case, of corporate culture. Make your business trustworthy and you won’t have to spend a cent on “trust related marketing.” Just that label makes me groan.

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