– So why aren’t more businesses focused on trust when building a brand?
With lack of trust in the market, it is hard for brands to position themselves for long term growth. With that in mind, should not trust not be a KPI for marketing campaigns? “ The Edelman Special report: Brand Trust in 2020”, 53% of respondents answer they focus most on Trust, when deciding to buy a new brand. The report also found that trust is crucial to customer loyalty.
Building trust is an ongoing process, and at times a fragile one at that. The findings in the 2020 Trust report from Edelman, show that less than half of the respondents trust the big brands. This indicates that being a big brand in itself, is not enough to build trust. At the same time, earned trust is a competitive advantage that is hard to copy. This is why it is surprising how few B2B Brands use trust as a KPI for their brand strategy, in their content production and for execution and measurement of campaigns.
According to “2020 Edelman Trust Barometer ” there are two components that have to be in place: Relevant competence and ethics. With relevant competence, the brand showcases that they have the knowledge and resources to solve the challenges and needs that the target audience face. Being able to deliver at the right time is equally important. Ethics are based on people’s perception of empathy and identity connected to the brand. The target audience perceives that the brand understands and cares about them, and that the brand’s interests and intentions are aligned with theirs. In these matters it is equally important for a brand to listen as it is to express.
So how can B2B brands build trust? According to a survey conducted by Edelman and LinkedIn (2021 B2B thought Leadership – Impact study), 68% of the B2B decision makers ment that expert sayings, or thought leadership, increase their perception of the brands relevance. The same percentage say thought leadership increases their trust in organizations. In other words, showcasing internal experts, capacity and qualities within the organization, can be excellent for building and strengthening trust.
Unfortunately, the impact study also reports that 71% of decision-makers say less than half of the thought leadership they consume gives them valuable insights. Therefore it is also interesting to look at the findings from “Nielsen 2021 Trust in Advertising Study” where they concluded that people have more trust in ads that communicate values than ads presenting products and services. Value Oriented marketing increased by 10% from the previous study, published in 2015. This is consistent with what content engages on LinkedIn. Members seek enlightenment and inspiration. In other words, an expert is not of value unless the competence and ethics are in place.
If we look at these findings against the survey from B2B institute and Ehrenberg-Bass Institute (Advertising effectiveness and the 95-5 rule), we can find a possible explanation: most B2B buyers are not in the market right now. The study shows that only 5 percent of the B2B target audience are actively in the market for purchase at any given time. That means that 95% of all potential buyers have not started their purchasing process. By marketing products and services alone, when the buyers are not mature or ready, can challenge the target groups perception of the brands competency and whether their interests and intentions are aligned with their own. For that reason, it is good practice to create a content plan that reflects the decision funnel. By consistently sharing content that shows relevant competency and ethics, the content should, over time, get more attention and engagement and thereby make sure the brand is top of mind and first in line when the buyer is ready to purchase. At the same time, the brand needs to create a dialog between themselves and the target audience to show they listen, through comments, reactions, polls, live events or in other channels.
The ultimate goal is to guide a larger part of the audience, throughout the decision funnel, and this is where the KPI’s act as a guide to ensure we are on the right track. Building and maintaining trust should therefore be defined as a long term KPI in the same manner as brand positioning through reach, frequency, engagement and reductions in CPM and CPC-prices. Another good initiative would be to run separate brand studies where trust in relevant competency and ethics are measured continuously.
Trust is one of the most important ways a brand can differentiate itself to create growth and build relations. At the same time, trust is something that has to be earned, constantly. As marketers, we are in the best position to do that job – if we choose to take on the challenge.
Tina Rødahl / Vice President LinkedIn Partnership / AdColony – exclusive LinkedIn Marketing Solutions representatives in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Turkey
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