When Nestle ran into the Maggi crisis in 2015, it led to the destruction of 37,000 tonnes of Maggi noodles in India. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) raised health concerns, leading to a ban in multiple states and FIR against celebrities who endorsed it.  

33 years into the business, this was a major setback, but with good branding, Maggi regained brand trust and a space on the shelf:

Source: Nestle
  • The brand never closed its doors on communication with the customer.
  • They consistently released TVCs that captured the essence of storytelling and emotional overtones to bring back the good times.
  • A crisis-specific hashtag, #WeMissYouToo, led to the creation of a social media campaign.

These bold moves, amongst many other things, helped the brand regain customer trust. Had the brand completely shut down on communication and only fought the battle behind the curtains - it would have never provided confidence to its users.

A key element in this crisis management was Maggi's unwavering commitment to its visual identity. The brand's resurgence centred around its core message of evoking nostalgia and building trust and the usage of bright yellow and red - something customers have come to associate Maggi with.

Consistent brand visuals played a crucial role in this journey, as they not only reinforced familiarity but also became a cornerstone in rebuilding confidence. Within less than a year of its comeback, Maggi successfully reclaimed 60% of the market.

What is Brand Trust?

When a customer analyses factors like the company’s reputation, transparency, promise to delivery, and customer service while aligning with their overall vision and communication - they develop a belief system about the brand.

This is brand trust. All these factors collectively work together to build a trustworthy relationship between the brand and the customer. Today, as many as 66% of people define feeling connected to a brand when it gains their trust, while 53% define it as having aligned values.

What are the key elements of brand trust?

First of all, it is imperative to know that brand trust isn’t built overnight - it takes years of effort through consistent product delivery, customer service, and numerous campaigns. Understanding the audience is the first step any brand needs to take to identify what resonates with the needs and preferences of the people they’re trying to sell to.

Once you’re through with your customer profile, kick off the tedious process of developing a transparent communication strategy - a mission where you try to be honest and open with your customers, even in times of crisis. As this gets settled, move to crafting and maintaining a cohesive brand image across all platforms. Consistency in branding reinforces brand identity with social proof.

Lastly, prioritize data security and privacy. It’s 2024, and safeguarding your user data is not only pivotal but a requisite in creating a memorable brand. Demonstrate a commitment to security, and data privacy, which will in turn enhance customer trust.

Why does trust matter?

For brands, the connection is like the new currency. Nearly 81% of consumers need to trust a brand to consider buying, reports Edelman. So it’s not just about the brand’s popularity, but about how much a customer can trust you to act, take a stand, or deliver on the promise. This acts as a catalyst in consumer decision-making.

When your consumers trust your brand, they’re more likely to make you a priority in a sea of options - repeat purchases increase, customer recommendations see a spike, and sometimes if you’re lucky, they also become your tribe and evangelists. This kind of connection produces loyalty, and long-term retention, which is crucial for any brand.

According to Morning Consult's Most Trusted Brands report, after good-value pricing, consumers across the globe prioritize strengthening the relationships they already have with their favorite, long-established brands the most.

Furthermore in the face of a crisis, as branding gets difficult, the actions of the brand need to be consistent. They should reflect on their values, and care for consumers, employees, and the company’s vision.

Since brand trust massively impacts consumers’ purchasing behaviour, it also has direct relations with increasing sales and customer retention. In another report, salsify reports that 46% of consumers are willing to pay more for a brand they trust, up from 30% in 2021.

Increasing your brand trust can thus lead to setting a foundation for customer retention, which can lead to increased sales and loyalty.  For example, Ritual, a company that provides subscriptions for multivitamins started its journey with high levels of trust and loyalty among its customer base.

Source: Ritual

When most brands are accused of dubious advertising, Ritual went above and beyond in providing quality products and transparency concerning ingredients.

With such an approach. Ritual gained the trust and increased its product offerings from just a basic multivitamin to a comprehensive supplement line.

How to Build Brand Trust - 7 Easy Strategies

According to Edelman, 67% of consumers must trust a brand before they'll continue buying its products or services - this makes a brand’s image a core factor to whether consumers will purchase or not. Trust is also essential for employee retention, as 71% of employees say they'll leave a company if it loses their trust.

These statistics highlight the importance of branding, and why it can’t be ignored in 2024.

Now that we’ve talked about the importance of building brand trust, let’s deep dive into what you can do as a brand to create that experience for your customers.

1. Understand your audience

When you conduct an in-depth analysis of your target audience - you know who they are, what they seek, their expectations of the brand, their pain points, and how your brand is catering to all of them.

Apple is a great example of a brand that knows its audience and connects successfully with it. Over the years, Apple has built such a solid following among tech enthusiasts that the loyalty is unparalleled.

Apart from the fact that as many as 79% of iOS users remain loyal to the Apple ecosystem, nearly 73% of them consider themselves “very” or “somewhat” loyal, claims gitnux. It is because of such strong branding practices that Apple enjoys a whopping 90% retention rate.

2. Set brand trust goals, and measure

What you can measure is what you can improve. Every organization has a different set of branding goals, but at large, most of them include increasing sales, building loyalty, improving market share, and gaining positive customer reviews.

We recommend that you build your own set of metrics and KPIs to complement your end goal. At its basic, it can look something like this: brand mentions, branded search, traffic from branded keywords, social media growth etc.

If you wish to drill down, start by tracking the benchmarks for each metric across your ideal customer profile, and identify the right value propositions, platforms, and channels for key consumer groups.

Source: Klipfolio

3. Transparent communication

One of the trickiest recommendations of all, the focus on transparent communication in building brand trust can be all too simple, and yet daunting. Brands often misconstrue transparency to be challenging, but all you have to do is be open and let the customer in.

Apart from their resounding success on social media, Zomato is also a great example of open communication. A few years ago, Zomato ran into an issue with one of its delivery partners and a customer. This is how the founder took it to social media to address, empathize, and let the audience in on their actions.

4. Consistent branding across channels

38% of Gen-Z consumers say that social media is the number one way they prefer to discover new products. This study by Hubspot indicates that 50% of millennials have also discovered new products on social media.

If brands are inconsistent across channels with their images, their target audience would find it incredibly hard to relate. To bring flow into your marketing operations start by developing strategies for cohesive brand identity across channels.

We also highly recommend using a digital asset management (DAM) tool to make sure all your branded assets are in one place. For instance, new-age DAM systems offer 360-level coverage when it comes to asset management. From centralized asset storage to ensure all teams across different geographical locations are on the same board to version controls that restrict access for extended teams and external stakeholders - it offers everything.

Imagine you’re in a meeting and your manager asks you to share branding assets from your last year’s new year campaign - now in a DAM system, this can be found in less than 3 clicks with their advanced search.

💡 Got questions? Read DAM's Role in Strengthening Brand Identity

5. Social proof and testimonials

Brands can highlight the power of social proof in gaining consumer trust. Collect and showcase customer testimonials, expert interviews, and business data (whatever you can share) to bring confidence. Remember seeing Airbnb’s user-generated videos?  

6. Addressing concerns and feedback

As a brand, know that every time a customer is grieving or unhappy with your service, they will put twice the effort to call you out. Most digital-first brands have narrowed on this insight and devised strategies to address customer queries as soon as possible. Some popular methods are:

  • Have an automated reply system in place for immediate assistance
  • Have a different user complaint channel on Twitter to navigate queries
  • Provide access to direct mediums like call, chat or email to have lower TATs

For example, Zappos spends additional resources on training employees to make customers happy before they can start handling user queries. Their agents never use scripts, and they never upsell; they only focus on making the customer happy – no matter what.

7. Security and data privacy

It's 2024, and one of the biggest predicaments is the safety of branded data. If you’re a brand that stores images, videos, and branded collaterals in an open Google Drive link - know that you’re at risk.

For instance, imagine your brand guidelines are located in the same drive as your next campaign’s marketing collaterals. One of your stakeholders who’s trying to access the logo files, also accidently sees the discounts you’re going to offer next month.

He lowers his rates, posting significant damage to your marketing campaign.  Such growing concerns around data and misuse of branded items are at an all-time high. As data breaches rise around the world, all companies are heavily advised to develop strategies for ensuring the security of customer data.

DAM systems fortify your asset security by acting as centralized repositories where all assets are stored and organized, eliminating the risk of scattered files and uncontrolled access. With features like restricted control, digital watermarks, secure file sharing, and tracking of assets, prevention of unauthorized access and usage of digital assets is done at scale.

As a brand manager, such security over asset usage can be gold.  

To build a brand that’s trusted, it’s all the above things and more. For businesses, reputation is everything - integrate authenticity in everything you do to win your customers.

Key Solution in 2024

Modern problems require modern solutions. As more and more channels are added under the realm of digital asset management like social media, in-house, print, mobile, and web, marketing teams are finding it incredibly hard to manage their digital inventory. As consistency in branded communications becomes a priority for brand managers, digital asset management(DAM) systems have become the need of the hour.

Global brands like ASICS, IBM, Helly Hanson, and Lenovo have publicly claimed DAM’s direct impact on cost savings, personalization, and democratizing content with speed and efficiency.

A DAM system can help in building brand trust by ensuring brand consistency and maintaining a strong brand presence across all touchpoints. With a well-managed DAM system, brand managers can easily create and edit brand guidelines, enforce brand guidelines, and streamline workflows, ensuring that all content is on-brand, relevant, and up-to-date.

By centralizing storage and management, DAM minimizes the need for multiple systems, reducing overhead costs, and avoiding costly errors and duplication of work. A consistent brand image and message contribute to a strong brand reputation, which is essential for building brand trust.

DAM helps protect brand assets and brand equity, ensuring that all branded content and messaging are strong, recognizable, and consistent across all content, marketing campaigns, and products. Ultimately, a consistent brand representation leads to revenue growth, trust-building with customers, and coherent brand messaging.

Some examples of how DAM can help entrust brand trust:

Logos: DAM systems can store various versions of logos, ensuring that your vendors and stakeholders are always up-to-date. Here’s an example of how Uber does it.

Source: Uber

Fonts: Beyond logos, DAM systems can also store, share, and make branded fonts accessible to everyone. This brings consistency in font usage and doesn’t hamper a brand’s image across marketing materials and channels.

Colors: Coca-Cola calls red its second secret formula for success. Do you think if all Coca-Cola vendors used a different red - it would have worked its charm? DAM systems ensure correct colors are used consistently.Tone of Voice: DAM systems can store and manage guidelines on the tone of voice used in brand messaging, ensuring that the tone is consistent and appropriate for different audiences and channels.

Here’s an example from Wix - the brand not only tells its stakeholders how to use its logo, but also how not to use it.

Source: Wix

Visual Elements: DAM systems can store and manage visual elements such as images, videos, and graphics used in branding.

Brand Messaging: DAM systems can store and manage guidelines on brand messaging, ensuring that the messaging is consistent and aligned with the overall brand strategy. Campaign Materials: DAM systems can store and manage essential campaign materials, such as templates, to ensure that they are localized and adapted to different languages and cultures while maintaining brand standards.

Summing Up

46% of consumers are willing to pay more for a brand they trust, up from 30% in 2021 reports Salsify. As the internet floods with more and more options each day, consumers are spoilt for choices. To stand out, not only do brands need solid branding, but also a huge amount of customer loyalty, trust, and belief in the brand to keep them coming back.

It’s safe to say that when brands build trust, consumers reward them - Airbnb, Apple, Coca-Cola, Google, we’ve seen them all. This is the brand’s only way to build a long-lasting relationship with them.

In the grand scheme of business longevity, neglecting the crucial task of building trust spells obsolescence for brands. When trust is rooted in a brand’s ability to meet expectations, customers keep coming back. Businesses must invest in and fortify the foundation of trust to carve out a lasting legacy in the hearts and minds of their clientele.

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