Building Brand Trust Is Multi-Dimensional Street Fight

Building Brand Trust Is Multi-Dimensional

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In this post-truth era, when the public trust has eroded around news sources, government, healthcare institutions, and myriad other pillars of society, trust and authenticity are difficult to establish. Now add a layer of brand verticals. What happens to brand trust?

Vevo, MAGNA, and media agency Initiative conducted a survey of 5,000 U.S. consumers this month to determine how trust of a brand leads to purchase intent of a product or service. The survey defined “trust” as consumers’ perceptions of a brand’s reliability, respect, ethical business practices, authenticity, and relatability.

Possessing all of these attributes were especially important for brands among multicultural consumers, said Julie Triolo, SVP, Marketing & Research at Vevo, a music-video networks that draws 25 billion views per month.

“To build brand trust it’s essential to connect with consumers in ways they prefer,” said Triolo, adding that understanding cultural context with geographical undertones fosters authenticity and relatability. “This is particularly important when engaging multicultural audiences.”

Findings from the survey, “Brand Trust Dimensions,” revealed that when brand trust increases by just one point, the average consumer purchase intent increases by 33%.

“Brands that take the time to understand their audience under general principals of reliability, along with respectable and ethical business practices, drive trust with consumers, ultimately leading to greater purchase intent,” Triolo said.

Different attributes were cited as being more important in certain verticals. According to the survey, reliability was the most important driver of trust the automotive vertical, followed by fast-casual dining, finance, and over-the-counter medications.

Specific attributes also resonate with audiences by ethnicity. Reliability was a driver of brand trust 11% percent of the time among general audiences and whites (13%), followed by Asian-American Pacific Islanders (11%), Hispanics (12%), and blacks (9%) who, like whites, also ranked ethical business practices as a high driver of brand trust, both at 9%.

Researchers also tested 32 brands across the automotive, fast casual dining, finance, and OTC medications verticals on 10 dimensions of brand trust. When brands were able to bump trust among consumers, even by just one point, average purchase intent increased by 36% (OTC), 34% (automotive), 30% (finance), and 26% (fast-casual dining).

A perceived lack of effort by brands to connect with particular audiences decreased trust among 38% of respondents, and that’s where the medium becomes the message, so to speak. It’s not enough to just reach audiences, say, on social media, which 41% of respondents cited as a good way to reach them. Brands must also serve relevant content to them in that channel, most notably for Hispanic respondents, 39% of whom rated content alignment in social was important.

More than two-thirds of respondents noted that advertising and brand safety are essential conduits for satisfying the brand attributes most important to them. Advertising builds the brand by creating trust, and surprisingly almost half (48%) of respondents said TV was their preferred method of receiving brands messages to create trust. They cited social media as second most important (33%), brand websites (25%), and product placements (25%).

As for brand safety, 65% of respondents said the most effective way to build trust with audiences is to place ads next to or in content that is “reputable and safe to watch,” that “supports diverse communities and creators”, and that are “representative of the world around me.”

Kara Manatt, EVP, Intelligence Solutions, MAGNA, said in a statement, “Advancements within the digital advertising ecosystem have made performance marketing efforts both harder to execute and harder to measure.”  

She added, “Brands [must] to find ways to break through the crowded ecosystem and prove the value in their media spend across channels and environments. With a thorough understanding of audiences and the ways in which to reach them, brands can effectively build brand trust through advertising” and drive meaningful outcomes.

Kathleen Sampey
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