In light of the recent pandemic, customer loyalty could be your business’s most important asset. The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report has revealed seismic shifts in the way customers are looking at brands.

Brand trust and reliability have become important cornerstones for customer choices. 64% of the people in the study placed brand trust second only to affordable prices.

So, what is brand trust exactly?

You can loosely define brand trust as a customer’s affinity towards a specific brand owing to many factors. It could be the brand’s affordable prices, product quality, the celebrity endorsing it, or your familiarity with the brand.

Very often, brand trust is also affected by the way the company treats its employees. The Edelman Trust study reported that 89% of people want to know how a particular brand is supporting its employees while choosing a product.

Why brand trust?

You might be wondering, why all this sudden fuss about brand trust?

It’s because brand trust is especially important in a post-COVID world where customers need reassurance that their brands will see them through these difficult times. 70% of the Edelman Trust survey respondents said that brand trust has become more critical today than ever.

Even without recent statistics, focusing on building brand trust still makes a lot of sense. Today’s market is flooded with hundreds of brands providing very similar products and services. Customers’ confidence in your brand can help you to thrive, even in a fiercely competitive environment.

Additionally, brand trust can translate into customer loyalty which can bring several profitable outcomes for your business, including an increase in your profits. A Brand Keys report suggests that a customer loyalty increase of 7% can lead to an 85% profit increase per customer!

How do you build brand trust in 2020?

Building brand trust is easier said than done, especially in 2020. Here are some top things you can do to build trust with your customers.

  1.   Improve your communication channels and strategy

Most of us have been driven crazy at some point by lengthy waiting times or dissatisfactory customer service calls. In fact, a Hubspot survey uncovered that the speed and efficiency of sales and services calls heavily impacts customer loyalty.

You must ensure that your customers can voice their concerns directly without any undue hassle. It can be understandably difficult to attend to multiple customers at once over calls. Instead, explore alternative communication channels like automated chat-bots which can help you do your job with smaller manpower.

The tone of your brand communications can also have a significant impact on their opinion of you. The pandemic has further heightened the scrutiny on your brand’s voice and tone.

The public is looking for brands that they know will support their customers through these uncertain times. Therefore your brand messaging should be empathetic, clear and reassuring.

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  1.   Look out for your employees

Showing up for your employees and supporting them during tough times can earn you a lot of brownie points from your audience. A recent survey by Qualtrics found that 54% of consumers are concerned with how brands treat their employees during times of crisis. 48% of consumers indicated they trusted brands better when they learned about the brands’ humanitarian policies.

Fortunately, you needn’t do a lot to go the extra mile for your employees. Be honest with them about what you can or can’t do. You might formulate more flexible work policies that can help you give necessary exemptions wherever required.

  1.   Build ample social proof

We’ve all checked online or print reviews before investing in a particular product or service. A study by BrightLocal reported that, on average, consumers read at least ten reviews before opting for a brand.

Positive reviews and testimonials are social proof that your products and services are dependable. This kind of social proof can build your brand trust and loyalty.

How do you build social proof? Begin by encouraging your existing customers to rate you on review sites such as Yelp and Google Reviews. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring bad reviews. Instead, engage with those customers with complete transparency to turn them into positive reviews.

What else can you do to build trust?

The suggestions mentioned above form only the tip of the iceberg. There are numerous other ways of building brand trust, including advocating social changes in your marketing strategies and rewarding your most loyal customers. Maintaining transparency about your policies with your audience can also project reliability as a brand.