Trust me: The importance of gaining trust

By Sanna Forbes | 06 May 2018

As a Senior Content Strategist, I see the benefits of good content daily. Good content can do amazing things for a brand, it fuels SEO, draws relevant traffic to sites, and is also a key component in helping increase brand trust.

But what is trust, and how can it be built and act as such a powerful tool for brands? Trust me, this is something worth getting to know more about. 

What is trust?

Essentially, trust is the building block of any relationship. For commercial companies, it helps build brand loyalty or customer commitment and can be the reason your customers come back for more. In short, it's what makes you stand out from the (increasingly busy) crowd. What's more, it's essential to increase profit and conversions. Looking at this report from Accenture, 57% of UK consumers spend more on brands to which they are loyal. 

Yet, trust doesn't always get the attention that it deserves by many companies. A reason for that might be the idea that something that requires a lot of time and investment is also so fragile, as it can be broken in a split second. However, once trust has been built and is nurtured, it's hugely rewarding.

How do you build trust?

John Hall from Contently highlights that trust doesn't just come to whoever is trustworthy, it must be deserved. Trust should be treated as a living object that can change and be broken at any point. 

It's not a quick win, and you can't expect for trust to happen just by running one marketing campaign talking about all the good things you've done as a company (though, I have to admit, that would make my job much easier). Instead, it's the small actions and messages that build up the trust, and these must come across as genuine.

Consistency is key

The messages sent out by a brand should be consistent and original, and the most important thing is that it resonates with a brand's identity. These principles are well put together in this article by Melissa Eggleston from Content Marketing Institute. 

The messages themselves and the formats that they're communicated through can (and should) vary depending on channel, purpose, and audience, but the identity should remain the same.

A good rule of thumb is that customers should be able to get a sense of the brand that has sent out the message without seeing the brand name.

The identity and the consistency should also be considered across all channels in which the audience interacts with the brand. And when I say all channels, I mean all of them. Everything from a meeting, to customer service, to an employee representing the company at an event. This can be challenging for a brand, but it's worth investing in by working up a solid content strategy and a clear tone of voice where the consistency is considered across all forms of communication, regardless of audience, timing, and format.

It's also important to remember that trust is built on a relationship, and where there's a relationship, there should be two-way communication. So, engage with your audience, give them space to talk to you, and be sure to talk back to them. That will give a sense of honesty and transparency - as long as you keep your messages consistent.

Here are some tips on how to get started:

  • Make sure that you've got clear values that are reflected in all the communications that you do as a brand
  • Be consistent in your messaging and make sure to show your brand personality
  • Be honest and transparent
  • Customise the messages and formats of the communication, but keep the brand values consistent
  • Listen to your audience and maintain the relationship
  • Be patient - trust comes to whoever deserves it

Trust should be considered as a top priority. In a world where there's more options and messages to pay attention to than ever before, people value relationships, and relationships are built on trust. It requires consistency and it must be maintained, but once you've got brand trust, it will pay off.