As the market seems to gain momentum from the recession that began in 2007, companies are trying to gain back the trust that was lost among their customers. But the acquisition of a trusted customer isn’t anything new in 2012. Despite the recession, marketing campaigns continue to center on trust, even during a period of decline.
Last year, we presented Edelman’s 11th Annual Trust Barometer, mentioning that for a prospect to consider selecting your brand, you must first establish a base level of knowledge and trust. At that time, one-quarter of the U.S. respondents indicated that they needed to hear something about a company six or more times before they believe it. This year’s report reveals that a majority of respondents only need to hear about a company three to five times in order to believe it.
Why the decrease in number of times people need to hear about something until they believe it? Are companies more trustworthy in 2012 than in 2011? According to Edelman’s Trust Barometer, key attributes that determine future trust levels are tied to societally focused competence.
But what can a company do to show their ability to place customers ahead of profits? Listen to their customers’ needs, respond to feedback, and have positive sentiments shared by employees. Once again, social media takes the gold medal.
Social media comes with a great opportunity for transparency, and transparency can lead to honesty and trust. Edelman’s Trust Barometer has measured an increase in trust of information gathered from social media sites of 75 percent from 2011. (Traditional media is up 10 percent.)
What is it about transparency that makes a company more trustworthy?
- Companies utilizing social media listen and provide feedback directly to their customers. Trendwatching.com calls this attribute “flawsome.” It’s the attribute of “brands that are brilliant despite having flaws; even being flawed (and being open about it) can be awesome.” They don’t pretend that problems don’t exist. They directly address them and oftentimes fix them – making a bad situation good and becoming a hero.
- Employees that are treated well will also report positive things on their blogs, microblogs, and various social media sites. And because this information is coming directly from an employee and not the CEO of a company, consumers are able to relate and find the information more believable.
As a company trying to earn the faith of your consumers, you may already be awesome, but don’t be afraid to be “flawsome.” Instead of dismissing or hiding negative comments and reviews online, accept that they exist, acknowledge the issue, and fix the problem.