Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
27 November 2018
Developing brand trust
Brand trust is an old story. And often misunderstood. Marketers believe developing trust in a brand simplifies purchasing behavior. In a sense, they are correct.
But they mistake habit with preference. Great brands build habits as a result of brand trust. This is true. However, marketers must aspire to the loyalty that comes from preference.
Hot is no longer hot
This is a strange time. It is a global trend to distrust institutions. Government and churches struggle with truths. It seems that our major societal hallmarks survive through a mixture of doubt and mistrust.
Does this mean that the consumer population has lost faith in the brands they favor? Are historical brands falling victim to the bigger societal erosion of brand trust?
I believe the reverse is true.
Your customers demand predictability. It is the means of all understanding. It is comforting to predict behavior. Erratic behavior ignites fear and avoidance. Why is that? Because human beings shrink from fearful occurrences. It is our fight or flight genetics.
Brand is not marketing
A way to look at the relationship between brand and marketing is to view it as life’s beginnings. Brand is the moment of conception. Marketing is how you raise the child.
Brand trust, therefore, is a mixture of the two. If marketing is nurture, then brand is nature.
You can guide a child to certain behaviors. But some of the personality traits are baked in. The genetic code appears to determine many possibilities.
It is impossible to change eye color. Male-pattern baldness. Color blindness and even myopia.
Although the latter can be corrected with surgery. In branding, we call this adjustment to brand trust as brand intervention. However, surgery is expensive and always includes risk.
“It is precisely because of our precarious times that brand trust is so important. Consumers today will sacrifice efficacy for this feeling of predictability.”
Brand trust is a measure of permissions
The genetic code that controls your brand is its DNA. It has inherent permissions. These are ingrained expectations. Imprinted at birth. For example, Apple does not have permission to create disposable lighters. BIC does not have permission to make phones.
Of course. We all see that. The question is WHY?
Great brands develop, during conception, a blue print of permissions. Permission to be high-end. Permission to be innovative. And even permission to be discount.
What consumers crave is the safety that predictable behavior elicits.
We desire to be comfortable with the brands we covet because they are, in small ways, reflections of self. We invest emotional energy in them with greater fervor than the brand managers that created them.
Now more than ever
It is precisely because of our precarious times that brand trust is so important. Consumers today will sacrifice efficacy for this feeling of predictability. Safety.
Marketers have the responsibility to understand the double helix within their brands. As they groom and refine its strengths, they must never put the brand in a compromising place. Don’t place your beloved child who is genetically lactose intolerant in a room of cheese.
Never jeopardize that brand trust that you customer holds true. They need something to continue believing it. Now more than ever.
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