Building Consumer Trust In An Apprehensive Time


Whether you’re a category leader or an upstart challenger, this is a topsy-turvy time to be a human, much less a marketer. Nevertheless, while it is natural to be tempted to focus all of your efforts on short-term survival, the reality is that now is not the time to ignore your brand.

The COVID-19 crisis is fundamentally changing how consumers think, act and buy. But more than that, it’s creating a new lens through which consumers view brands — increasing the importance of the trustworthiness of the brands they buy, now and into the future.

Current research shows that a majority of consumers say that in this time of crisis, they are turning to the brands that they are absolutely sure that they can trust. They believe how well a brand responds to this crisis will have a huge impact on their likelihood to buy from that brand in the future and most importantly they say if they see brands and companies placing their profits before people during this crisis, they will lose their trust forever.

This is not a moment for organizations and their brands to retreat from their nobler aspirations. Rather, it’s a tremendous opportunity to walk the talk. To be brave and thoughtful, active and earnest. And to build trust with consumers through these challenging times — and for the months (and years) to come.

By way of considering what this might mean for your brand (and with the goal of making the complex simple), below are a series of questions we think you should be asking yourself related to your brands product, personality and point-of-view in an effort to build trust with consumers.

Your Product:

  • What can you and your executive teams do to quickly evolve your products and services?
  • What evolutions, line extensions, innovations or promotional opportunities make sense in this new paradigm?
  • How can you use your products and services as a platform through which you can build trust with consumers in a new or expanded way?

Your Brand Personality:

  • How can you make sure that your brand is not appearing tonedeaf to the new consumer reality — now and in the coming weeks (and months)?
  • As you look at your wide-angle consumer experience lens, where are the best opportunities to improve your relevance and resonance?
  • How might your brand evolve its voice in this brave new world?

Your Brand’s Point of View:

  • How effectively are your deeds and actions communicating your organization and brand’s empathy toward people in markets across the world?
  • What can you offer of value to the ongoing conversation?
  • How can you articulate, demonstrate and defend (both show and tell) that you care about their health and safety?

As you ask yourself these questions, consider the following: Today’s consumers state that they want brands to help people meet the challenges of their new reality. They want you to help health workers, high-risk individuals and those whose jobs have been affected. They want your advertising to help them cope with pandemic-related life challenges and to strive to connect people and help them stay emotionally close.

Bottom line, shoring up operations and playing defense during these trying times is simply not enough. Organizations and their brands must invest time, energy and resources behind earning and growing a new sense of trust with consumers. Done properly, this will both help brands “do good” and “get credit” — for which they will very likely be rewarded with brand loyalty in the years to come.

Be brave. Evolve your brand. Build trust. Shine on.