Updated: Jan 21
The building block of any healthy relationship is trust. The relationship between brands and buyers is no different than any other relationship. It takes trust to foster and nourish brand loyalty, and trust takes time to build.
As the buyer journey is shifting and as the recent pandemic has dramatically altered the buyer personas, now is the time for brands to emerge as industry leaders by considering trust-centered marketing.
What Trust-Centered Marketing Is
More and more research shows that pushing products on customers is not as effective as they used to. Advertising used to be about exposure and expert validation and testimonials for your products. However, this is no longer working, and millennials are particularly skeptical of advertisements and so-called (quack) experts telling them what to do.
As a result, brands have seen their customer loyalty decline steadily as they find it increasingly difficult to reach out and engage their dubious and distrustful audience. Trust -centered marketing seems to be the buzzword nowadays, and marketers have devoted their energy and resources to developing trust in order to increase their sales.
However, what exactly is trust-centered marketing?
Simply put, in trust-centered marketing, businesses spend more time in building trust than merely exposing their products and pushing them towards buyers. It is quality, not quantity, that matters. Trust, not exposure, will turn interested parties into customers and existing customers into recurring buyers.
The critical question now is: How do I use trust-centered marketing? If you are uncertain as to the how, worry not. Below we have outlined the list of elements successful trust-centered marketing must absolutely entail.
1. Put People First
Marketing used to focus on the product itself, but it is far more difficult to trust an impersonal product than another human being. Trust between brands and customers can only be achieved by revealing the humans behind the brand and letting them tell their stories.
Allow the people in your brand to share their journey, to acknowledge the pitfalls they encounter, to admit to the struggles they continuously try to overcome. By revealing your humanity, you are basically telling your customers that you are also like them: you share their experiences, their worries, their anxieties, and understand their problems.
Trust-centered marketing focuses on solving problems rather than pushing products. It puts people first and builds a relationship of trust between the people behind your brand and the customers, rather than the customers and the brand itself.
2. Show Don’t Just Tell
In the old days of marketing, experts would promote the brand by making claims about the products’ extraordinary qualities, swear by their effects, and promise to solve your problems. In other words, they would tell but not really show.
Customers today no longer take such so-called expert claims at face value. They prefer to see the results than to hear about them. They need evidence backing these claims, or they will simply dismiss them as bogus.
Trust-centered marketing, therefore, should promote the brand purpose and brand values. These values should be supported by real people’s testimonials. Show that the purpose of your brand is to not simply earn you money.
Connect with your buyers, show them that your brand is here to help make their lives better rather than your pockets fuller. There is no better way to earn your buyers’ trust by showing genuine care and interest in their well-being. You are here to help them, your brand’s purpose is to help them; and this, my friends, is the building block of trust-centered marketing.
3. Make Your Brand Memorable
Trust-centered marketing can only be successful if your brand is memorable. People don’t remember facts and charts and data. They don’t really care about all the awesome statistics relating to your product. People can’t feel a connection towards numbers. People care about other people. People care about stories. This is how you promote trust-centered marketing; by using stories and making your buyers feel.
For any marketing strategy to make you feel something, the said strategy has to be interesting, entertaining, and relatable. It does not matter if your marketing elicits happiness, sadness, despair, or even anger. People always remember how your words make them feel but rarely do they remember these words if they evoke no emotions.
By incorporating storytelling in your marketing, you place your buyers in the narrative and plunge them into action. You make your brand personal to them. And when you make it personal, you inadvertently make it memorable.
4. Be Honest
It takes a village to turn dubious buyers into your most loyal brand aficionados. Sometimes, the village can be avoided if you incorporate one little element in your marketing: honesty.
Whereas honesty was highly dismissed in the bygone days of marketing (let’s be honest here) and the shortcomings of brands were brushed under the carpet, this tactic is no longer effective. Buyers are naturally wary of products and are even more suspicious of products claiming to be things they are not.
What it all boils down to is this: be honest. A solid foundation of trust relies on both parties being honest. So, in trust-centered marketing, you need to embrace your brand’s limitations. You need to acknowledge your mistakes and be honest about your pitfalls and stumbling points.
Humanize your brand and weave your flaws in your marketing’s fabric. Nobody likes perfection, sure we strive for it, but when perfection is pushed to us, we dismiss it as fake. There is no such thing as a perfect brand, so be honest about it and don’t pretend that your brand is something that it is not.
5. Listen To Your Customers
Trust-centered marketing is built on the reciprocal relationship between two parties: buyer and seller, as opposed to the relationship between buyer and brand. In order for this relationship to flourish and grow, both parties must listen to and understand each other.
You can give out all the customer service questionnaires you want, but if you do not seriously take into consideration what your customers are telling you, then you are back at square one. Do not dismiss what they are saying. Do not just listen and subsequently ignore their message.
Instead, show them you’ve listened by responding through action. When you truly listen to your customers, you gain their trust, and more importantly, their respect, making it harder for them to turn to rival brands.
If your customers have outlined something they would like to change in your brand or your services, listen to them. The chances are that your sales will increase if you show that you truly care about their experience and work hard to improve it.
Do this, and you have earned their trust. Incorporate this reciprocal dialogue of giving and taking in your marketing and create a story to show them how their feedback has plunged you into action. Use storytelling to describe your efforts to improve your brand and the overall customer experience. Show you listen by doing what they asked you to do.
6. Stay True To Your Word
Every interaction you have with your customers, every marketing piece you put out there, every promotion, and everything you say and convey about your brand is a promise. If you say that your brand will do x and y, make sure that your brand does exactly that. How you deliver on that promise dictates the future of your brand: do you attract customers through trust-centered marketing, or do you show them that you cannot, in fact, be trusted?
Flashy ads and the wow-effect they create can give your brand its moment of glory. But in the end, if your marketing promises things and your brand fails to live up to the expectation, you will find yourself on the road to failure and it’s all downhill from there.
Trust takes years to build, but it can be shattered in seconds. Promises not kept are an instant deal-breaker when it comes to relationships, even when the relationship is between your customer and your brand.
Trust Is The Word
Trust-centered marketing is the new buzzword in today’s’ advertising campaigns. Trust-centered marketing, as a whole, seems to be changing the way we used to approach marketing. Marketing is no longer about exposure, no longer about pushing products. It is not about outspending or outdoing everyone else. It is about embracing and fostering the basic element of any relationship: trust.
In trust-centered marketing, you must focus on fostering a relationship based on solid foundations of trust and loyalty between you and your customers. You must put people first, humanize your brand, welcome its flaws, show your customers rather than tell them, be honest, and stay true to your promises.
Trust-centered marketing can be tricky to accomplish. The old marketing methods are hard to get rid of and usually find their way into your marketing strategies. If you are uncertain as to how you can use trust-centered marketing and reap its benefits in terms of conversions, consider enrolling in our writer’s workshop today.