The Trust Delusion: Consumers Have Less Faith In Brands Than Brands Think They Do

Consumers are not as trusting in brands as companies think they are, judging by “Close the Trust Gap to Unlock Business Value,” a joint study released Wednesday by Deloitte Digital and Twilio Inc., conducted by Lawless Research. 

Of the B2C leaders surveyed, 79% believe consumers have very high trust in them. But only 52% of consumers agree regarding the firms they have interacted with so far this year. 

For one thing, consumers have different definitions for the building blocks of trust. Fair prices are critical, 73% of consumers say. But only 38%  of B2C marketers feel the same way. 

And, 72% of consumers assert that quality products or services are key to building trust, while only 38% of B2C leaders concur. 

Deloitte’s HX TrustID study found that consumers look for four signals of a trustworthy brand: Humanity, Transparency, Capability and Reliability. But while 40% of brands believe their brand consistently shows Humanity through empathy and kindness toward customers, a mere 13% of consumers think they do, the new study shows.  

And while 40% of brands feel they always show reliability by delivering on their promises, only 19% of consumers feel they are reliable in that way. 

There seems to be agreement on one point: 98% of brands and 96% of consumers think trust is engendered when a brand is easy to do business with. 

However, yet again, only 35% of consumers say it is easy to do business with the brands they trust most. 

Only a third of consumers feel their most trusted brands are transparent  —i.e., that they openly share all information, motives and choices in simple language. And 48% say those brands consistently deliver on their promises. 

On the positive side, 68% of consumers will spend more on a trusted brand — 25% more — than they will on a brand they use but trust less. And, they are more likely to give permission for the brand to collect valuable data. 

How many mistakes can a brand make before a consumer loses trust in them? Three — as long as the errors are resolved and are not repeated.

“The lack of consumer trust is pervasive, yet we find that business leaders are consistently over-estimating the trust that customers have in their brands,” concludes Ashley Reichheld, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP and the creator of Deloitte Digital’s HX TrustID platform. 

Reichheld adds: “Leaders must focus on measuring, predicting and acting to rebuild consumer trust so that they can foster meaningful differentiation and resilient customer loyalty. Trust is the key to accelerating growth and delivering value.” 

The lesson for email teams is clear: Don’t promise anything unless you have done the proper due diligence and know that your brand is delivering on promises. And maintain transparency. 

Lawless Research surveyed 1,000 consumers and 500 leaders of large U.S. B2C enterprises during the summer of 2021. 


Next story loading loading..