As we reflect on the hope a new year can bring, marketers who want to make a lasting impact on 2021 will have one resolution at the top of their list: earning, building, and keeping consumer trust.
Here’s why trust is shaping up to be the tenet of 2021:
Consumers demand—and deserve—transparent relationships. Sixty-six percent of respondents in a recent Accenture survey said they are attracted to companies that are transparent about what they do, how they operate, and how they treat their employees and customers. Brands are thinking hard about how to create that transparency, and to build authentic relationships with customers.
One area that requires immediate action is the collection and use of customer data. With existing and looming privacy regulation, along with the demise of the third-party cookie, brands need new approaches to collecting data for targeting. Transparency will play a key role in their success.
Companies need to communicate a value exchange, offering consumers something in return for their data and their business. Many innovative brands are offering, for instance, helpful and entertaining content, unique experiences, and access to exclusive offers. When both buyer and seller know what they are getting, trust is created.
Consumers are choosing brands that have earned their trust. Thanks to the pandemic and social distancing measures, consumers are spending more time online. They have more time to research purchases, and often tighter budgets to spend. According to Salesforce, 88% of B2B and B2C customers said that a brand’s trustworthiness matters more in 2020 than it did in 2019.
Demonstrating values has never been more important. It used to be that savvy brands steered clear of taking a stand on controversial or polarizing issues. The myriad of significant social events in 2020 has shattered that thinking, bringing to the mainstream important causes and injustices—like the need for social equality, diversity, and inclusion—that demand attention rather than abstention from brands.
Instead of remaining neutral, companies in 2021 will be compelled and empowered to take a stand. They will communicate their values and ensure that they are clearly heard. These values will become an important part, not just of who they are, but of how they present themselves to their core audiences. Consumers expect it of them and will often reward it with loyalty.
In fact, according to a recent study, 77% of consumers are more willing to purchase a company’s products or services if the company demonstrates a commitment to addressing social, economic, and environmental issues.
From pretty much any angle, 2020 has been an exceptionally challenging year, but that does not mean we cannot take the opportunity to embrace the changes and innovation it has sparked. The marketers who win will be the ones who leverage them to build more authentic relationships with customers, making brands worthy of their trust, and all of us better equipped to keep it.