Ask any relationship guru and they'll tell you: love can't happen without trust. This goes for any relationship, even the ones between brands and consumers. Trust us—we've done the homework.
Oath spearheaded a comprehensive study to get at the heart of what makes people connect with a brand, especially on mobile, and discovered six key drivers that lead to brand love—"trust" being a big one. In fact, the study found that, globally, trust represents 20% of the equation adding up to brand love. (The #1 driver, Exceeding Needs, represented 30%.
But building trust isn't easy. People expect more of brands than ever before—not only does a product or service have to work, and work well, but a brand also has to understand its customers, make them feel valued, and use customer data for good without taking advantage. Not exactly simple.
So, how can you build trust?
1) Mobile is key. Oath's study discovered people trust brands more if they have had at least one connection with them on a mobile device. In fact, consumers in the U.S. are almost 67% more likely to trust a brand "to use my personal data" if they've had that mobile experience (November 2017 Omnibus survey).
2) At the same time, however, context matters. Consumers—75% of them—believe brands are responsible for the content that appears next to their ads and, if they disagree with that content, 15% said they would boycott a brand (Oath Halo Effect Study, October 2017, U.S.). Think about the backlash YouTube experienced when ads were showing up next to objectionable content last year. Some brands pulled their ads from the video-sharing website, vowing to stop advertising until safeguards were put in place.
3) Don't abuse your data. While a lot of people know companies track their shopping patterns—it's the cost of doing business today—that doesn't mean people will accept companies who are careless with what they know. The same people who like custom experiences worry about the security of the data used to create them (Consumer Data and Privacy Omnibus, U.S./UK/CA, Oct 2017).
Data is useful because of the insight it can give you into consumer behavior. With this in mind, find new ways to understand your audience by cross-checking what you know with partner data to give you a complete picture of how your customers act across devices and apps. But choose wisely—both you and your partner need to have the good of the customer at heart.
4) People want to feel as though they belong to something bigger, so build trust by treating your customers like members. What can you do to make them feel valued and respected? Whether it's providing exclusive content, giving them a forum to interact with like-minded people, or simply having good customer service, do it. Make them feel like they belong, and they'll keep coming back for more.
When it comes down to it, there are many ways to build trust, and it's essential for brands that want to be loved to establish it. How will your brand do it?