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INsight #165 - TRUST

If trust is an eroding confidence builder, and buyers don't trust the messages brands deliver, what's changed? The simple answer is EVERYTHING.


The NEW Roaring 2020s are just 16 days away. That means there are only three more 2019 INsights, including this one. All year, we have been asking if you are ready for the storms ahead. 


INsight #1: There will be storms, some good and some bad. If you expect business as usual (BAU), it’s not going to happen. As we noted last week, we’re falling behind.


The three final INsight themes for the end of this decade are:

  • Trust: Its loss is causing a massive marketing upheaval.

  • Birds: We’ll identify four bird personalities. Which best will describe your brand's marketing?

  • Prevailing winds, shifting currents: This will set the tone for 2020.


The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines trust as:

An assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something; one in which confidence is placed.


INsight #2: Current cultural norms have eroded buyers’ trust in brands, their advertising, marketing and sales teams. Maybe we marketers brought it on ourselves because we didn’t pay enough attention and respond to what buyers have been signaling since the dawn of the digital age this decade.


Salesforce CMO Stephanie Buscemi recently observed, “Customers are in a midst of a trust crisis. 54% of customers don’t think companies operate with their best interests in mind.” This should not shock you. Many companies never had the “best interests” of their customers in mind. They have their own self interests in mind, and that has led to the erosion in trust.


The 2019 Edelman Brand Trust Survey noted that 81% of respondents say, “Trust in brands is an important part of my purchase behavior, but only one-third of people say they trust the brands they buy. It seems consumers are shifting their buying behaviors away from what the product or service delivers to what the producer’s character is.” The survey's conclusion: Brands have to make a difference.


INsight #3: Brand reputations have been tarnished and trust lost, not so much that the brand does not deliver a good experience (tastes good, looks good, doesn’t break, easy to use), but that it does not make a difference. The Edelman Survey found that 41% of consumers don’t trust brands’ marketing communications to be accurate and truthful. They also found that 53% expect brands to get involved in at least one social issue not related to the business, yet the report notes that 56% of respondents say brands overuse social issues “as marketing ploys.”


For years, marketers have expounded about the “customer journey.” Perhaps, it’s time to replace the customer journey with a more narrow description. Let’s call it the “purchase journey.”


Let’s understand the critical dynamics of the purchase journey and how it impacts trust.


Control has shifted to the buyer. The buyer does not need to interact with your sales team. When they do, they are as well armed or even better armed with critical buying information than your sales personnel.


  • Silent research is king (and so is reputation). Everything a buyer needs to know is in the palm of her hand. Today, it’s all about ‘search.’ That means your SEO tactics have to be better than perfect or you will be missed. Content has to not only describe the product or service, but emotionally energize the buyer to want to learn and know more about the brand. You only get one chance, so don’t blow it.

  • It’s complicated, but not complex, so simplify. Different buyers consume their information in different ways. KEY TAKEAWAY: Be there for everyone. I like white papers. I like reading. I like detail. My colleague wants a synopsis and a 30 second video for his information consumption. Be there with the right message at the right time. I reject the idea that buyers expect a brand to know everything about them. Just be there and be ready to engage them.


Every touchpoint is a marketing touchpoint. Marketing is the conduit that links the buyer and the brand throughout the buyer’s purchase journey. Use all the channels to stay connected, and have a plan that strengthens the brand’s reputation and builds trust. Buyers recognize your marketing ploys.


Trust is not the new marketing buzzword. It’s the 2020 reality. Trust and reputation are affecting your brand, whether you know it or not. Brands are experiencing significant upheavals in how they go to market and stay in the market. R U Ready to move beyond BAU?


The EndGame: New thinking. New vision. New energy.©

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