It’s time to trust

The topic this month has all been about trust and loyalty. With the ever evolving marketplace, it can be hard for brands to retain a loyal customer base. There is evidence to suggest that 'loyalty schemes' don't seem to be driving the returns that brands expect, are Marketing teams perhaps limited by their own imagination when it comes to loyalty?

One of the more alarming elements we have seen is the low levels of trust that exist towards brands. Only 6% of people in the UK trust the information that brands tell them, and the majority of people (54%) will question the information that receive from a brand (Rare: 2016).

Rare: Redefining Loyalty Report (2016)

Rare: Redefining Loyalty Report (2016)

At the moment Korean manufacturer Samsung is taking a real hammering in the press due to some of their recent faulty Galaxy Note 7 phone. The level of interest in the topic has sustained at a remarkably high level. There could be a number of reasons for this hyped level of interest.

Do you remember the time that Apple were accused of paying staff as little as £1.12 an hour in ‘sweatshop conditions’? That seemed to disappear quite quickly.

Of course it would be remiss of me to suggest that there is some degree of geographical bias in the UK press giving more weighting to one disaster to the other, (and of course these were at completely different time periods). It would be reductionist of me to do so, but it Is interesting to compare the response of press here in the UK to the two scenarios. But could it be that here in Europe we can identify or trust the behaviours of businesses that are closer to our own cultures than those from further afield?

The scenario reminds me of the time Toyota were forced to recall 10 million cars that were ‘accelerating uncontrollably’. What car manufacturer would put an automotive vehicle on the road that hadn’t been tested rigorously? The sums speak for themselves - Toyota were fined more than $1 billion dollars of the disaster. Yet in test scenarios it was impossible for auditors to find an issues other than human error (with the driver accelerating unaware of doing so). Malcolm Gladwell's podcast Revisionist History details this juicy case study perfectly, and concludes that the cars were in fact fit for purpose, the real issue to the scale of the disaster was in fact due to the media's portrayal of the gravity of the situation. Put more simply, the media wasn’t prepared to trust the evidence provided by the Japanese manufacturer.

There are many elements that create trust but as these examples illustrate there are fundamental psychological aspects that play a significant role. Wikipedia defines trust as ‘firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something.’ Like the break down in a friendship or marriage, there are many emotional elements that can cause the breakdown in trust between audience and brand, which need to considered...