Consumer trust is a must-have for building your brand, but trust is getting harder and harder to earn. In fact, public confidence in U.S. institutions—including brands—is on the decline.
People are less willing to trust these days, and for valid reasons. From ethical violations to data privacy breaches, consumers are wary of putting too much stock in businesses.
As a brand, it’s tempting to shout, “You can trust me!” But everyone insists they’re the most trustworthy brand. How can you actually prove it?
Whether you run a physical retail store or are a B2B company operating in a hybrid “phygital” space, you need to establish trust in this loud landscape. Fortunately, trust isn’t about volume but authenticity, consistency, and genuine connection.
Let’s look at why trust is so important and how your business can foster valuable feelings that last.
Why Does Trust Matter So Much?
Businesses often assume they have their customers’ trust, so it’s easy to wonder, “Why do I need to create campaigns for customer trust?”
Eighty-seven percent of business leaders think consumers trust their businesses, but just 30% of consumers actually have faith in companies. That’s a big gap!
If you want to boost sales, stand out from the competition, and grow, customer trust is a must because:
- Lost trust equals lost business: Forty-two percent of consumers will stop using your products and go to a competitor if they don’t trust you.
- Reputation attracts business: Did you know that 80% of millennials buy products just because they’re from trusted brand names? If you can associate your brand name with trust, that’s a massive advantage over your competitors, whether you sell online or in-store.
- Trust grows your business: Ninety-one percent of business executives say building trust directly affects their bottom line. And they aren’t just imagining it. A study by McKinsey found that companies that invest in digital trust are more likely to see annual growth rates of at least 10%.
4 Tips to Build Brand Trust
Modern marketing is about blending physical and digital spaces to connect with more consumers. Phygital spaces are the new arena where brands duke it out to earn customers. But for consumers, this means a relentless stream of brands begging for their trust.
To break through the noise, you need to stop talking the talk and walk the walk. Follow these tips to establish genuine, lasting trust with your customers.
1. Invest in Tactile Touchpoints Using Promo Products
Digital marketing is necessary, but that doesn’t mean you should ditch marketing in the physical realm. Your audience is inundated with ads and digital content from everywhere. Promotional products give them a break from the screen time while promoting your brand.
Unlike digital ads, which disappear almost immediately, branded merchandise can be a physical reminder of your brand in a person’s everyday life. Promotional products create a sense of goodwill and trust you can’t create from an online post alone.
To build trust with promo products, be sure to:
- Choose high-quality products: Promo products help people subconsciously associate your brand with quality, boosting their trust in you.
- Pick products with utility: The more folks use your products, the more opportunities you have to connect with them. Mugs and T-shirts are popular promo items because they’re so practical! Don’t worry—you can jazz things up with cool prints, designs, and materials to make your products pop.
- Customize: Tailored promotional products that cater to your audience’s interests show you’re attentive and understand their needs. It’s a subtle but powerful way to show you aren’t just looking to make sales but want to build authentic relationships.
- Brand the products: Sure, you’re building goodwill, but this needs to include your branding. Choose promo products in on-brand colors or that have space for your campaign imagery.
2. Protect Your Customers
Did you know that 79% of consumers believe data protection is essential for building trust?
As your business embraces the phygital space, you are likely collecting more and more customer data. You're duty-bound to protect this information, be it contact information or credit card numbers. Nothing harms trust more than a data breach, so work with your IT folks to lock this information down.
It might not sound as fun as the other suggestions on this list, but data breaches will ruin the goodwill you’re trying to build, so put customer protection first.
3. Follow Transparent Business Practices
For people to trust you, you must become a brand worth trusting. That means practicing what you preach.
Transparency doesn’t mean you have to bare all or share all of your financial data, of course. It often comes down to simple practices like:
- Sharing reviews: Nobody’s perfect. Embracing both good and bad reviews shows you’re authentic. If you hide nothing, you have nothing to hide. Just be sure to reply to all reviews (both positive and negative) to show you take feedback seriously.
- Living a mission: What does that mean when you say you’re a sustainable company? Do you recycle now and then or donate 20% of your proceeds to environmental charities? Every company has a mission, but to build trust, you need to take action on that mission—and share it with the world.
- Admitting when you’re wrong: Again, nobody’s perfect. Don’t double down if you make a mistake. Instead, own up to your mistakes and take tangible action so it doesn’t happen again.
4. Humanize Your Technology
Technology makes it easy to reach thousands of people in a few minutes. Before you know it, your website visitors look more like numbers than people.
Technology is good at dehumanizing people, making it harder to build one-on-one relationships with your audience. To build trust, you need to humanize your technology by:
- Telling stories: Every brand has a story filled with hurdles, lessons, and growth. Sharing these moments humanizes your brand. Instead of uploading a YouTube video about your latest product features, focus instead on your founding story, employees, or learning experiences.
- Engaging in real-time: People love live feeds on Instagram and TikTok because they feel more natural. When you engage with your audience in real time, there are more opportunities for connections that mimic real-world interactions. Connections are some of the essential building blocks for long-term trust.
- Personalizing: Personalization is a marketing best practice, but it’s also a must for reaching beyond the screen and touching your audience’s hearts. At a minimum, use customers’ first names whenever you can. If you have a smaller audience, that might look like giving away gifts at an event with a QR code that takes the recipient to a landing page with a custom-recorded message.
Mute the Noise and Establish Real Trust
Trust is less about grand gestures and more about small, consistent moments. Commit to your values and customers. Before long, you’ll build lasting trust in even the most competitive landscape. In a world where consumers are bombarded with choices, genuine connection guides them to brands they can believe in.
Promotional products bridge the divide between physical and digital experiences, helping you overcome the competitive noise while building trust. Create Brand Love™ moments: Build trust with Boundless.