Do Consumers Trust Brands?

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With so much uncertainty over the past year, no company can deny that trust and transparency have become more important for consumers than ever before. With a drastic rise in online spending during the pandemic, brands have had to strive for higher levels of customer service, relying heavily on the feedback their customers provide. 

Now that restrictions have eased, and consumers have more options at their disposal, there is more pressure than ever for brands to retain the customers they have, as well as attract and acquire new ones. Companies are increasingly looking for anything that allows them to get right to the core of their consumers’ mindset. One of the reasons why you need customer reviews when you’re a brand is that they are a free form of marketing that allow you to put strategies in place and build on positive feedback or address consumer pain points 

Consumer brand trust

Consumers who love and trust a brand will end up sticking with it, while there is also an increased likelihood that a brand will attract new consumers if they read a positive review about them. A recent survey revealed that only 35% of consumers have trust in the brands they use. With that in mind, it is now imperative that brands really think about how they can gain consumer trust and retain it. 

Responding to reviews

When consumers post reviews online, they do so to express their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with a brand, product or service. It is then up to the brand to respond to this feedback and show that they care about their business model and are prepared to show gratitude for positive feedback or make amends for justifiably negative feedback. It is important that a brand does not get into an online debate with a consumer or try to nullify their review because this will undoubtedly put off other consumers. Acknowledging a positive review with appreciation and professionalism is as important as holding your hand up and trying to rectify the content of a bad review.

Brands should respond to consumer needs

Consumers are brand advocates and they listen to each other. It is important for brands to portray themselves in a transparent and caring way. By showing they care about the society their consumers live in, and highlighting their desire to provide a positive, enjoyable experience for their consumers, they will find that their consumers keep coming back. If consumers are concerned about how brands might be storing their data, then it is up to the brand to explain the process to them and make sure the consumer is never second guessing or feeling vulnerable. Similarly, if a consumer feels a brand ought to be introducing certain products or services to the mix in order to appeal to an underrepresented consumer market, for example, then that brand has a duty to listen and conduct some research in that area. Reviews are a brand’s eyes and ears of the consumer market. 

Be aware of the cultural climate

It’s not just that though. Whilst we consider ourselves to live in a throwaway society, mindsets are largely starting to change. The pandemic gave all consumers the time and space to consider the world around them and the impact their buying habits might be having on that world. Many consumers are already mindful about the products or services they’re buying into; however, many more are now joining them. Brands can’t afford to overlook their corporate social responsibility because consumers can’t afford to make a bad purchase. Therefore, consumers need to trust a brand that they’re buying into.

A brand must ensure that its marketing supports all its beliefs. There is little point in portraying one thing and the reality being something completely different, as consumers will undoubtedly find out and expose this online or via word of mouth. Consumers will stick with brands they trust, but they will also be willing to try new brands if they hear, or read, positive reviews about them. The social stance a brand takes must be considered very carefully, with a brand educating itself on social and economic issues so they don’t ruffle consumer feathers, put off potential future consumers or irreparably damage their brand reputation. 

Reviews help brands to get inside the mind of their consumer. By doing this, the brand can ensure it is constantly improving its offering, righting any wrongs and creating a positive experience that consumers will notice and be drawn to. 

These days, brand trust is about more than just providing great products and services, or providing excellent customer service. It is about brands actually caring about their business and their consumers, and proving as much. After all, customer retention is always going to be cheaper than customer acquisition, so brands that are savvy, transparent and true to their beliefs will always garner the right attention and have the most loyal customer base. 

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