Retain Consumer Trust By Keeping Your Brand Promises

Any brand that hopes to connect with consumers is must reckon with the powerful nature of public scrutiny in the digital age. As a society, there are now elevated expectations for brands that we spend our money on due to the proliferate expansion of available options across industries. Consumer trust is a lucrative yet brittle aspect of any brand’s customer experience platform and the viral potential of negative public relations can instantly tarnish the public’s perception of your organization. These major missteps are obviously things to avoid, but it is not only viral moments that infect your brand reputation. Both large viral moments and small instances of brand betrayal can quickly erode the goodwill your organization has established, impacting the overall perception of your brand in the marketplace.

The connectivity between brands and consumers offered in the Internet age has integrated brands into the daily routine of our lives. However, these enhanced connections do not always have a positive impact on customer relationships. In fact, as social media peels away the layers between your brand and the consumers you serve, there is more of a responsibility to ensure an honest brand experience. For example, BP had established a reputation as a progressive energy company that prided itself as a proponent of the green movement. After decades of accepting this identity as truth, the public had to reassess our relationship with their brand after the infamous oil spill in 2010 was handled improperly.[1] In the past, a scandal like the oil spill would be damaging to a brand’s perception, but social media added the ability to instantaneously share images of the oil spills impacts, statistics about the environmental impact and a litany of negative opinions on a massive scale. This betrayal of consumer trust has permanently damaged the brand image that BP had meticulously built throughout the company’s existence.

There are innumerable examples of major global brands betraying the trust of their customer base throughout history, but these instances are happening at a faster rate than ever before. As a result, over half of customers trust local brands over global brands,[2] making it even more challenging for larger organizations to establish a foothold in the current marketplace. Brands like Uber, Wells Fargo and Papa Johns are just a few of the recent examples of organizations that have been found guilty by the court of public opinion. It is unclear whether or not these organizations will ever recapture public trust, making it vital that your organization is taking measures to avoid a similar outcome. Retaining your desired brand identity requires a diligent approach to self-measurement and an active ear listening to customer feedback.

In addition to major moments of mistrust like what plagued the aforementioned brands, smaller betrayals throughout the customer journey can have a similar impact on your brand reputation. Small moments like missed delivery or appointment windows, clunky customer support pillars or damaged goods are now impacting customers beyond those effected by the original negative interaction. Social media has presented each individual who logs on a global audience, and one small mistake can quickly consume an organization’s identity if it is shared and viewed by enough people. Utilize programs like mystery shopping to measure employee performance across different channels. By collecting this data, you will not only be able to fix mistakes before they become viral moments on social media but will also allow your brand to relay a more accurate message, so that the experience you deliver is better aligned customer expectations. This approach can help mitigate the risk of these instances poisoning the way consumers perceive your brand.

Retaining trust within your consumer relationships is more challenging than ever before. Self-measurement, transparency and authenticity is the winning formula in the current climate. Ensure that your brand retains a positive public perception by implementing self-assessment programs within each customer touchpoint, constantly looking to combat these moments of mistrust. Adopting this approach can help mitigate the risk of these instances poisoning the way consumers perceive your brand.

[1] http://www.findingsreport.com/2017/10/15/when-brands-betray-us/

[2] http://marketresearchtoday.com/2018/06/02/11-recent-interesting-statistics-on-consumers-trust-and-technology/


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