Consumer Expectations for Brand Trust Jump 250%
Consumer expectations for transparency and trust in the companies from which they purchase have increased by an astronomical 250 percent in the past year, according to Brand Keys’ 24th annual “Customer Loyalty Engagement Index.”
“Trust was a value that was part of every B2B and B2C decision that customers have always made. It’s just that the expectation for a consumer to be able to trust brands has expanded faster than anything we’ve ever seen in the 24 years we’ve been conducting the study,” says Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys.
The top 10 sectors showing the largest increases in consumers’ expectations for trust were the following:
- Social networking (300 percent)
- Online retail (272 percent)
- Department stores (220 percent)
- Broadcast and cable news (205 percent)
- Instant messaging (180 percent)
- Credit cards (160 percent)
- Insurance (125 percent)
- Investment services (120 percent)
- Fast food restaurants (118 percent)
- Online payments (117 percent)
These increases aren’t completely unexpected, Passikoff maintains, pointing to data privacy concerns and a number of very high-profile data breaches by some very big and well-known companies in these industries as the leading contributors to the paradigm shift.
“Consumers may still shop, but they’re increasingly wary,” he says.
The trust issue is also a big contributor to overall customer loyalty and brand engagement, which Brand Keys defines as how well a company meets consumers’ expectations for values that drive purchase behavior. Trust, clearly, is one of the main values this year.
Among the companies that have built this trust are Avis, Nike, AT&T, PayPal, Hyundai, Dunkin’ Donuts, Dropbox, Domino’s, Lyft, Konica-Minolta, and Discover.
But for all companies, trust is a hard metric to gauge, according to Passikoff.
“If marketers think they know consumers’ trust levels for their brands, this year they need to take another look, preferably using methods more precise than traditional brand tracking,” he says.
“Business as usual, research as usual, won’t cut it in today’s brandscape,” Passikoff adds. “Building brand trust isn’t a matter of technique or more social networking, but the development of actual, believable brand character and values.”