In a world of distrust, how content marketing can help.
According to recent research by the Reputation Institute, ‘in the UK, brands are facing their biggest trust crisis since the global recession of 2008.’
Collecting 31,000 individual ratings about 293 companies, the study identified that in 2017 (when compared to 2016):
Trust in brands to ‘do the right thing’ dipped by 10%;
Just 38% of customers said that they were prepared to recommend a brand (a decrease of 7%);
There was an 11% decline in the number of people prepared to say positive things about a brand;
Just 36% of consumers think brands are genuine about what they say in their marketing (a decrease of 12%).
Given the current state of global affairs, the fallout of the post-truth era, the rise of fake news, the Cambridge Analytica / Facebook scandal, etc., it is hardly surprising that consumers now begin their interaction with a brand from the perspective of suspicion and distrust, leaving it up to the brand to prove otherwise.
How does a brand win trust?
In the light of such a dismal state of affairs, how can a brand begin to go about gaining (or re-gaining) trust and winning and holding on to its customers?
The answer must surely lie in the very reasons we choose to buy from brands in the first place.
It’s not all about the product
Unless you really are the sole supplier of a product or service genuinely not provided by anyone else on the planet, the product you sell is not going to differentiate you to a significant level or provide the real reason why your customers want to buy from you.
Indeed, today, be it trainers or insurance, there are likely to be a number of other companies providing similar products to yours. Even in the motor industry, we’re getting closer to the point where all cars carry the same features, made by a smaller and smaller number of suppliers, as drivers become less and less aware of what actually goes on under the bonnet.
Beyond the product itself, the usual factors come into play, be it price, quality, ease to purchase, and so on.
However, by far the most important factor in the buying decision, is the brand itself and consumer trust in that brand. Fundamentally, what it all boils down to is whether consumers are willing to buy from the brand and if they are willing to recommend the brand to their friends.
What factors influence trust?
The decision we make as to whether we trust a brand is based on a multitude of factors, the cumulated effect of which can all be dashed instantly if a brand puts a foot wrong.
Apart from factors such as whether or not the brand is well recognised, whether I’ve seen it advertised on the platforms I visit, or whether my social groups buy from it, the key elements to generating trust come largely from opening up your brand and being prepared to show who you are and what you believe in. Your long-term customers will become those that buy into, believe and share those beliefs.
The question then becomes: how do I communicate those beliefs and values to my customers?
The answer lies in creating compelling content that abides by a few all-important rules…
Video is the key
This isn’t the place to talk about the power of video (there are plenty of other articles that do that: Business2Community and Marketing Land). Suffice to say that video is, by far, the best medium through which your story can be told, it’s the one most used by consumers and the one that translates best across platforms.
It is through a carefully considered content marketing strategy, with video at its heart, that trust can be achieved and loyal customers can be won and held on to.
So, what does my video content need to do?
Here are the top 10 things to consider if you’re creating video content that is going to gain the trust of both your current and future customers:
Don’t waste my time: Provide genuine value in the content you produce.
Think digital: Content must either inform, educate or entertain.
Think long term: This is not about campaigns, you’re in it for the long-term.
Consider audience and platform: Make content that fits.
Show personality: Your audience wants to get to know you.
Show your true colours: Be prepared to say what you stand for.
Meet the team: People buy from people, so introduce your staff to your customers.
Have humour: We’re all human beings! Don’t take yourself too seriously.
Be original: Do different or do better than the competition.
And, most importantly,
Be true to yourself.
Don’t just create content that you think your audience might like; be true to your brand’s raison d’êtreand create content about a subject you genuinely care about. If it resonates with the audience, they’ll buy. If it doesn’t then that’s ok too; don’t think everyone you talk to is going to like your brand. Focus your attention on those that do.