10 JULY 2023 . INSIGHTS
Trust is the bedrock of all flourishing human relationships, and this maxim holds true in the commercial sphere as well. As technology tightens the ties between brands and consumers, the role of trust in influencing consumer decision-making and bolstering the bottom line becomes even more vital. The ancient adage that trust takes "years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair" serves as a pertinent caution to today's brand custodians.
In our fast-paced world, where savvy direct-to-consumer marketing and abundant venture capital can birth brands overnight, it's critical to approach trust-building differently. No shortcuts exist, as many D2C brands have found out the hard way. With an increasingly interconnected consumer base, a loss of trust can ripple through public opinion like wildfire. Case in point: Facebook's long-term decline triggered by the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and the global shockwaves from numerous GDPR violations.
The aesthetic charm and fluidity of a brand's digital platforms can significantly enhance its trustworthiness. This aligns with the ancient belief that beauty and truth are interconnected. When your design is polished, well-thought-out, and appears trustworthy, it creates an illusion of reliability and authenticity. This illusion aids in establishing the "first level of trust," especially in first-time visitors or potential customers. A good design makes a compelling first impression. The user experience then follows through, reinforcing the initial perception created by the design.
Edelman's annual Trust Barometer provides intriguing data on trust in corporate entities. Their 2020 edition highlighted several seismic shifts influenced by global pandemic concerns, social upheaval following systemic racism, and a politically charged climate. According to Edelman, 53% of consumers consider trust as a crucial factor when choosing a new brand—second only to price at 64%. Furthermore, a significant 70% believe that trust in brands has gained more importance today than in the past, a sentiment that transcends age, gender, and income demographics.
Trust affects three primary metrics: loyalty, engagement, and advocacy. A whopping 75% of survey participants claimed they would exclusively purchase a trusted product even if it wasn't the cheapest option. When it comes to engagement, 60% felt comfortable sharing personal information with a brand they trust. For advocacy, 78% would actively defend a trusted brand against criticism.
The route to establishing trust has moved beyond traditional advertising; over 70% of people now employ ad-blocking strategies. Instead, 'earned media' has emerged as the new arena for building or demolishing trust. Authority and empathy are the twin pillars of this new approach. Sixty per cent of people consider industry experts to be the most credible, while 59% put their trust in people like themselves. These attributes cannot be won overnight; they require consistent effort over time and must be vigilantly safeguarded once earned.
Brands today have to function as multidimensional entities that address various personal and social issues. At Design & Build, we adhere to a tiered structure that begins with strategic positioning and culminates in the nuanced articulation of final designs across all platforms. Brands need to steer clear of gimmicks and focus on their core promises and social responsibilities. Only by doing this can they secure a trusted status.
In conclusion, trust is an invaluable currency in today's commercial landscape. While its foundational elements remain rooted in integrity and reliability, the aesthetic elements of design and user experience play an increasingly pivotal role. Through strategic incorporation of high-quality design and intuitive user experiences, brands can significantly augment the perception, and ultimately the reality, of trust among their consumer base.
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