It’s almost Valentine’s Day, that commodified and commercialized celebration of the most bountiful and free resource we have.
But cynicism aside, love in all its forms is a beautiful thing worth celebrating. And one absolutely essential part of love is trust. It’s asking someone to put their trust in you and having faith you will get the same in return. That’s something no amount of flowers and chocolate can buy.
As a marketer, you want customers to fall in love with your brand. But that type of love requires trust, too. And on that point, we’ve got good news and bad news.
Edelman just published their 2023 Trust Barometer. It’s always an eye-opening read, and this year has some fascinating stats that marketers need to know.
Here are some key takeaways from Edelman, along with statistics from a few other trustworthy sources.
5 Top Trust Stats for B2B Marketers in 2023
The past few years have shown that as trust in public institutions continues to wane, businesses become one of the few trusted entities left. That’s an opportunity for marketers, but a responsibility as well. We have to respect and reward that trust, or it won’t last.
1. Business are the only trusted institution (but that’s not saying much)
While “businesses are trusted” is a great headline, the score on Edelman’s trust barometer is only 62. That’s just two points above a neutral score.
By comparison, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are in the neutral zone with just three fewer points.
Lagging further behind are government (51) and media (50), both hanging out at the low end of the neutral zone.
2. Businesses may be trusted, but their communication methods aren’t
Here’s the conundrum: marketers use social media to reach audiences. But trust for social media is constantly decreasing, and consumers are abandoning platforms that they feel no longer add value.
In Integral Ad Science’s Industry Pulse Report, 77% of media experts agreed that the eroding consumer trust in social media will cause them to spend less on those platforms. Facebook has the worst reputation of the major platforms, with nearly half (49%) of respondents planning to decrease spend there.
If we can’t rely on social media, why not go back to old-fashioned PR and working with journalists?
According to Edelman, journalists are among the least trusted institutional leaders, with only government leaders ranking lower.
You can see that the most trusted include “people in my community,” “my neighbors,” “my CEO” and “co-workers.” All of these are built on personal or business relationships — which means marketers should be working on building relationships, too.
In our B2B Influencer Marketing Report, 70% of our respondents said their customers rely on advice from experts or insiders. Find the influencers your customers already know and trust on a personal level, and you can help build credibility for your brand.“Find the influencers your customers already know and trust on a personal level, and you can help build credibility for your brand.” — Joshua Nite @NiteWrites Click To Tweet
3. Reliability, transparency and responsibility build trust
If businesses are going to hold onto that trustworthy status, we can’t rest on our laurels. Building trust is an active and ongoing process, and if we ignore it, trust will decrease over time.
Ipsos just published their annual Global Trustworthiness Monitor, and asked respondents what were their top four drivers of trust. In the top three spots, ahead of “Good customer service,” “Good at what it does, and even “good value for price,” are:
- Reliable/keeps it promises
- Open and transparent
- Behaves responsibly
These three are especially critical in the age of mass information and citizen journalists. If a company posts about Black Lives Matter, someone (or multiple someones) can point out they have no diversity in their C-suite.
A company that pays lip service to sustainability while dumping plastics in the ocean will be found out and boycotted.
The same is true for transparency: If your company claims to be open and honest about how it deals with customer data, that claim better be rock-solid.
4. Pursue a higher purpose to build trust
It’s tempting for brands to stay neutral on social issues in the current polarized environment. But the report shows that people not only expect brands to speak (and act) on social issues, they say brands aren’t doing anywhere near enough.
Edelman asked about six pressing social issues, and for each one people were +5X more likely to say brands were not doing enough, versus overstepping.
It’s worth noting that in particularly polarized countries (like the U.S.), the majority of people say that brands can’t avoid being political when addressing contentious social issues.
However, brands can combat being viewed as political by being a consistently reliable source of information, basing their actions on science, and acting on the same values over time.
If your business has a clear purpose, consistently works to make the world a better place, and builds trust and credibility over time, you can avoid the effects of political polarization.“Brands can combat being viewed as political by being a consistently reliable source of information, basing their actions on science, and acting on the same values over time.” — Joshua Nite @NiteWrites Click To Tweet
5. Positivity is a killer app
The content team at TopRank Marketing has a positivity policy. We want our content to be aspirational, helpful, optimistic and supportive. The days of effective marketing through negativity— fear, discontentment, anger — are over. The world is scary enough without telling someone that if they don’t buy your solution, they’ll get fired and have to live in a van down by the river.
It’s easy to see the difference in mindset. For example, compare:
- If your business violates privacy laws, you can end up paying millions in fines. Better get yourself a CDP.
- With the right data governance in place, you can personalize your marketing without worrying about compliance. Here’s how.
Positivity shouldn’t stop with content related to your solution, either. Some of the most memorable marketing campaigns remind people of their shared humanity, with optimism and hope for the future.
In Edelman’s report, 68% of respondents agreed with the statement: “Brands celebrating what brings us together and emphasizing our common interest would strengthen the social fabric.” Uniting and uplifting versus dividing and sowing fear — who knew that would help build and maintain trust, eh?“Some of the most memorable marketing campaigns remind people of their shared humanity, with optimism and hope for the future.” — Joshua Nite @NiteWrites Click To Tweet
Now that we’ve found trust, what are we going to do with it?
The last few years have seen businesses take the lead as the most trusted societal institution. But we must admit we’ve hit that position by default: It’s the erosion of trust in government, the media, etc. that put us in the top spot.
But we can still reward that trust, make good use of it, and use it to make our businesses both a better partner to customers and a better citizen of society.
And that’s better than a box of chocolates any day, even Valentine’s Day.
Looking for a trusted partner for your marketing? Contact us today.