Un**** your trust

Each year we comment on Edelman’s trust barometer, which states a slight improvement on what has been a downward spiral of trust across every vertical over the last 18 years.

  • Overall global trust in organisations declines to neutral
  • Trust in China is up
  • Trust in the USA is down
  • Fake news is a real worry for consumers
  • Media is the least trusted vertical
  • People now see media as both a ‘platforms’ and ‘creators of content’
  • +5 increase in trust of Journalists

Great news for PR and Journalism and a huge eye opener for brand and corporate communicators.

With the launch of our next go to report for the year is We Are Social and Hootsuite’s – ‘digital in 2018’ report also sites decline in trust as a major movement affecting the global brands we work for and hope to work for in the future.

Depressing reading? Or a massive opportunity for TRUTH to shine through?

With Facebook’s new feed rules, that now favour UGC over any other type of content in its platform – of which is now the largest data set and publisher in history – all leads to HUGE opportunities for brands and their agency partners to stop making marketing up – and start bringing real experiences that have actually happened into the limelight.

OK, so the answer is being more truthful about what your brand is about, but how is this achieved? What do you need to do to break this circle of consumers just not believing what brands say?

For each brand, the answer can be a little different. But here are some themes

  • Put your community content into EVERY channel you own
  • Be honest about how your source material for your brand
  • Celebrate how you are working toward more ethical business, beyond just a CSR statement- but firm plans around equality, environment, infrastructure, sourcing
  • Stop making up characters for your marketing efforts, only use real experiences to drive your growth
  • Think about using live marketing, streaming, live video etc
  • Don’t only surface all the good news about your brand, remember people know that every aspect of a brand cannot be perfect, be honest about what your working on, what you need to improve on
  • Use confirmed review sites – don’t fall foul of ‘trip advisor’ fake reviews – remember the shed!
  • Use ‘social proof’ or UGC to help you be the best brand you can be
  • Celebrate your employees, they have 10x more reach than your brand does
  • If you are using Influencer marketing, please don’t try and just plug people with loads of followers into your brand vision, they also need to be authentic followers of your brand and brand message. Remember your influencers are not that influential and it’s the 60th+ percentile that has all the gold, not the 10th.

It’s easy to say that UGC (User Generated Content) is the answer to everything; the truth is for us, without a clear set of strategies and goals, UGC can just be a channel that you’re using. Plugging UGC into Ad units, SOOH, Web, Mobile and Retail (or all of them at the same time) is complex. So having a key partner in this area has become essential.

2018 is already looking like a year of change for the better, woman is having a much better voice across equality and ethical standing with organisations, plastic is becoming a hated material that has meant many of the worlds product producers are now looking at tangible ethical and environmentally sound materials. Ethics around how brands source material is also coming to light, this is all leading to a more sustainable and ethical business practice and something that has been needed to change for years. The brands that win, will be the brands the follow these steps.

  • Put your community into EVERYTHING you do
  • Bring equality to the forefront of how you operate
  • Ethically source
  • Show TRUE transparency (the good, and the bad)
  • Be honest with consumers about how you can improve
  • Bring ‘social proof’ into every digital channel you use
  • Celebrate and promote diversity in your organisation

If you would like to know more about how some of the worlds leading brands are improving trust across their organisations, then please drop us a line, we would love to hear from you.