Archive for July, 2019

Should You Be Building Confidence In Your Brand Rather Than Trying To Win Back Trust?

July 22, 2019

Much of the work I do is in the financial service industry, and as such ‘trust’ or ‘winning back trust’ has been a hot topic for some time now, for all the obvious reasons not least of all the outcomes of the Banking Royal Commission here in Australia.

However, the issue of trust is not limited to just the financial services industry. It seems consumers and people in general have dealt with an ever-increasing amount of disappointment in businesses and organisations in which they once placed their trust. Can consumers ever trust their politicians, banks, or clergy in the same way they once did? And if not, what should your brand be doing about it?

Trust is important because consumers trust that their experiences will be positive, and that their time and money are worth the return. Can your brand truly deliver on this? If not, you need to consider that your customer may never trust you in the same way they once did or that to ‘win back their’ trust will take more time than a typical marketing cycle or two and decide what else you might need to be doing.

Start by ensuring your audience has ‘confidence’ that the brand will deliver the basics of what is expected in the relevant category

I have done a lot of research that looks at brand trust for a myriad of brands and one keen observation I have made is that, as consumers level of trust in brands diminishes, this is replaced by something more akin to confidence. They may sound like the same thing but there is an important difference between what the two ladder to.

As consumers fail to trust in a brand exceeding their expectations they start to place more importance on having the ‘confidence’ in a brand delivering to their basic needs or wants from it’s products or services. 

Consumers don’t always expect to have to ‘trust’ a brand anyone, so they are increasingly seeking out brands that give them a feeling of ‘confidence’. Either confidence in their own choices or confidence in the brand to deliver on what it says it will – nothing more nothing less than this. 

One might suggest that trust is being relegated to a lower role and confidence is being elevated to a higher one when it comes to brand choice. Relationships with brands based on confidence may feel more comfortable than those based on trust.

If we take financial services as an example, we see trust levels in the Big 4 have certainly deteriorated. However, what consumer say and what they do are two very different things. This is evident in that the four major banks’ domination of the Australian banking market has not shifted over the past decade. They account for around three-quarters of deposits and assets and a larger share of home loans. They have averaged about 80% market share over the same period.

Interestingly, as levels of ‘trust’ have declined the level of consideration for the Big 4 among consumers when looking for new products has stayed consistent. As mentioned, as a researcher I am seeing brand confidence increase in importance in the finical services sector – as in, people placing more emphasis on organisations “getting the basics” right rather than trying to ‘win back their trust’ by over promising in big ads and under delivering at the coal face. I would suggest that the consequences of loss of confidence will far outweigh any loss of trust. Loss of trust may lead to avoidance of your brand, but loss of confidence will surly result in a withdrawal from your brand. 

I am not saying that Australian consumers don’t care about ‘trust’, and this thought piece is meant to stimulate debate on the matter not present a final argument.