Gaining Trust today

Customer trust is key to driving business success. There were times when trust could be fortified with endorsements, testimonials from seemingly real users, or even better, from celebrities mirroring our ordinary existence. Those were the times, when making choices was simpler. Everyone simply strived to spend that extra buck for the brands that had carefully crafted premium imagery. An assurance of quality was implicit in the higher pricing, celebrity endorsements and real but fake user testimonials.

Things are no longer quite the same. From the customer’s lens, ad breaks have become a blur of the same albeit much loved celebrities endorsing nearly everything from salon-like shampoo to harmless potato chips to easy financial apps to crack-proof house paint to cheap ways to travel in luxury. We remember the funny or emotional stories and performances of our favorite stars and much too often, forget the brand. The ones who remember the brands are most likely ad professionals, ad film makers, communication students and brand marketers.

Our TG no longer needs ads to know more about a product or a brand. They gravitate to non-incentivised reviewers flooding the internet for that. They also pay keen attention to the rising crop of de-influencers who are exposing the exaggeration or downright lies in ads and on packaging. Forcing companies to make product changes or stop misleading ads and packaging. It is not just brands that lay exposed today.

It’s also us. People. Our social media accounts serve as a record of our history through all our life’s milestones including job changes, major trips made, the cafe we love, heartbreaks, divorces, plastic surgeries etc. The ones that managed to dodge social media are also not able to evade their conversations from being overheard by the IOT. Further catalysing this situation is the current political environment that somehow exposes exactly where each of us stands on the spectrum of extreme left to extreme right. It also left those among us who uncaringly use our privilege to stay clear of the whole spectrum with nowhere to hide. As a result, we are all a bit afraid of each other. Of our colleagues, our friends, our neighbors, our relatives. So, what chance do brands have to actually gain audience trust, in the present and coming times?

To build trust today, companies need to go beyond understanding the customer to actually caring for them. The world was always full of cheaters. Now, it is full of people who feel cheated. This is both a challenge and an opportunity for brands to make a positive and lasting impact. By demonstrating and living out honesty of intent, brands stand to reserve a special spot in customer hearts. Honesty shines when you offer a good product at a less inflated price. When you call sugar sugar instead of the elixir of life. When you call a moisturising cream a moisturising cream instead of a job finder. We just need to sell things in a manner that takes their realities seriously. People are building each other up and learning to work at their own self confidence, mental wellness and sense of self worth. They don’t need brands for that validation as much, anymore.

The traditional emotional and functional pay-offs need an overhaul. We need to be helpful by being there for our TG in the way they need, when they look for us. Here’s the good news. Today, we have technology to help us be accessible to exactly those who need us, on demand with the exact information they seek, in addition to broadcasting what we want them to know about us via ads. Shifting from manipulating customer trust to respecting it has become the key to driving business success.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Pooja Nair
Pooja Nair has over 20 years of experience as a branding consultant across leading global Ad consultancies. Pooja is also known to be an ex theater performer, actress and model. Since September, 2022, she has focussed completely on her passion for the changing face of business, brand-building and reputation.

Be the first to comment on "Gaining Trust today"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.