How marketers can best build brand trust

Brand trust is a difficult metric to define – and measure, but its intrinsic link to customer loyalty makes it significantly important to marketers. Here’s a roadmap for both defining and building brand trust.

Brand trust has been a historically tricky metric to evaluate, with conflicting definitions and inconsistent measurements muddying the waters.

But a new report from marketing agency SHARE Creative’s sister data specialist, Capture Intelligence, aims to create a better understanding of what brand trust means and how to best develop it.

Using Capture’s social intelligence software to analyse conversations around the theme of brand trust, the report identified some best practices for building a trustworthy brand. The data was gathered by setting up a social listening query to track all conversations with words associated with existing definitions of ‘brand trust’.

To find the most common themes, Capture Intelligence used ‘UMAP clustering’ – a method for partitioning data by way of dimension reduction – to distinguish between topics of conversation, referred to as ‘clusters’.

The clusters associated with ‘brand trust’ conversations

The data found four clusters brands need to consider; and were the most common topics emerging from user conversations linked to brand trust:

1. Business responsibility and ethics

Consumers have an affinity for brands viewed as acting responsibly in their actions across all areas, from production and operations to transparent communication. Users frequently refer to brands using terms like “ethical”, “unethical”, “sustainable” and “honest”.

2. Customer and brand loyalty

This cluster was sparked from the data recognising consistent consumer conversations surrounding a commitment to continued buying from brands, even in the face of competition or options elsewhere. “Brand promise” and “buying decisions” were frequently used terms, indicating that consumer behaviour is influenced by their loyalty towards a brand.

3. Marketing tools and methods

The findings indicated that branded content can spark consumer interest, with the terms “online presence” and “social proof” appearing regularly in conversation. A deeper dive of marketing methods revealed that to capitalise on this, a brand’s marketing must align with a potential customer's value system.

4. Business branding and identity

Users making conversation within the business branding and brand identity space frequently referred to “authenticity” as being something that sells them on a company or product. Consumers trust brands that convince them they are honest and prioritise transparency.

Alex Hill, Executive Creative Director at SHARE Creative, said: “Trust - brands want more of it, consumers need more of it and experts demand more of it. It’s become somewhat of an expected and yet overlooked priority.”

How to build a trustworthy brand

Based on the definition of brand trust as “business behaviour and brand activity over time”, the four conversational clusters and the most frequently used terms identified in the research, SHARE Creative has suggested five factors to focus on when building and marketing a trustworthy brand.

1. Reliable: A brand must be reliable through its product and service offering. Consumers should feel supported by brands in every aspect and phase of the consumer journey.

2. Responsible: Consumers expect businesses to act in a responsible and ethical manner. Immoral behaviour completely undercuts the building of trust.

3. Authentic: Any communications about purpose and values must be authentic and backed up by action.

4. Purposeful: A brand must communicate what it stands for. To have trust in a brand, consumers need to understand its purpose, values and role.

5. Consistent: Living up to brand values and inspiring trust leads to the reward of building long term relationships with consumers, which cultivates loyalty.