What Drives Brand Trust Today and Going Forward?

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Julia McCoy

Creator and Co-founder

what drives brand trust

Brand trust has never been rocked this much. Since 2020, the pandemic took a toll and heavily affected how brand trust is now conveyed.

Right now, there’s an all-time low in consumer trust for informational sources, according to the Edelman 2021 Trust Barometer.

And yet, the numbers show that trust in individual businesses is at a global high.


The Edelman 2021 Trust Barometer actually showed that when consumers lost faith in the government and media, they instead turned to businesses for information.

trust at all time low

(I’m not playing political sides here. If anything, I don’t like either side. Keep that in mind. This is pure factual evidence laid out for you to read and measure.)

What’s more, Edelman found 53% of consumers consider trust the second most important factor when deciding to do business with a brand (right after price).

edelman trust barometer

Building industry authority can mean your brand is seen as a source of trustworthy information for your consumers, or your brand is an authority website based on Google’s ranking standards.

From a content marketing trust-based perspective, you should strive to achieve both of those goals.

We have to remember what our consumers are searching for online, and we have to keep in mind that they want to read.

(Today, consumers are reading 3-5 blogs before they even want to talk to sales!)

We can’t build trust on the sales pitch.

You’re not telling your customers that you’re an expert — you’re demonstrating your credibility to them, which is much more effective.

In addition, you’re engaging with your audience and generating website traffic, which will help Google recognize your site as valid.

In other words, if you aren’t focused on building trust, two-thirds of your potential customers will go elsewhere.

Good luck running a business with the majority of your potential leads fleeing to your competitors.

Of course, building trust with your customers is easier said than done. You can’t just pay lip service to the idea of trust. You must actually be trustworthy.

But how?

Here’s what drives brand trust in the 2020s. Do these things, and you’ll create a solid, sustainable brand.

what drives brand trust

What Drives Brand Trust in 2021? These 5 Things

Growth-focused content marketers know that “build it and they will come” doesn’t work anymore.

You must build it and then you must give people a reason to come.

What is the most powerful reason? Trust.

According to Edelman, 81% of customers must feel like they can trust a brand before they purchase from it. That means if you build a trustworthy brand, you’ll appeal to 81% of all shoppers out there. Imagine that.

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In the 2020s, trustworthy brand behavior is…

1. Telling Your Authentic Story

“Fake it ‘til you make it” is terrible advice when 86% of your future customers consider brand authenticity an important factor in deciding whether or not to support you.

People want to know they’re getting something from the real deal. They want to see the human behind the brand – and they want to interact with you.

That’s why telling your authentic story is the single most important thing you can do. By doing so, you not only establish a strong content differentiation factor that sets you apart from the competition, but you also prove to your future customers that you’re interested in building a relationship with them.

So, while you’re busy creating content for your brand, DO:

  • Share your full story with nothing held back. Talk about your successes, failures, aspirations, and even the dreams you had to shelve. We’ve all been there.
  • Get vulnerable. Don’t be afraid to talk about things close to you. It will put a real face on your brand.
  • Leverage your unique perspective. No one else has lived your life or taken the route to brand creation that you have. Let it be your inspiration.
what drives brand trust quote

2. Delivering Consistent Value

Do you want to become a successful entrepreneur in the top 5% of your industry?

Start by showing up every day. You’d be surprised at how many people don’t do it.

People will come back to you when they know they’ll get something from you that enriches their life. That may be your product, your content, or even something as simple as a thoughtful post on social media.

What does consistent value look like with content hacking? It’s:

  • Committing to a publishing schedule. Train your readers to expect a post from you every Tuesday, and they’ll come looking. Let them down once and you might never see them again.
  • Putting processes in place. Consistency is easy when it’s replicable, especially when you’ve handed things off to others.
  • Staying on topic. Make sure you know your topic areas and stay true to your content house. It’ll help you keep your brand cohesive and undiluted.
  • Maintaining your house. Keep your old content updated to ensure it delivers maximum value at all times – both for you and your readers.

3. Staying True to the Customer Experience

Did you know that 82% of the top-performing companies around the world pay close attention to the customer experience?

It’s a good sign that you should too on your journey to the top 5%.

The customer experience used to be something that only luxury brands cared about. In the 2020s, however, it’s something that every customer cares about. According to PwC, people will not only spend up to 13% more on a brand, but they’ll be much more likely to abandon a brand after just one poor experience.

The good news is that great content helps a lot. Stay true to delivering a superior customer experience by:

  • Mapping content onto the customer journey. Make sure the right content reaches your audience at the right moments to inspire them toward conversion.
  • Paying attention to all of your content. Your FAQ, transactional emails, and technical pages should be as full of life as you are.
  • Being as transparent as possible with everything. People like transparency – so does Google. Boost your brand credibility with both by injecting some transparency into your brand.
brand trust

In the 2020s, brand trust involves what you do, what you say, where you stand in society and what problems you solve for your customers. Source: Edelman

4. Protecting the Privacy and Security of Customer Info

Did you know that 88% of customers use trust as a factor in deciding how much information to share with a company?

People will give you their information gladly if they trust you and think that it’ll improve the customer experience.

Of course, you must maintain that trust by protecting their information. That applies to everything from their credit card information when they complete a purchase to their email when they subscribe to your newsletter.

Content plays a huge role here, too. According to Deloitte, data privacy needs to be a major strategic priority for all brands operating online. That means you can build a commitment to protecting your readers’ and customer’s data right into your content strategy.

Do things like:

  • Make privacy notices and options clear on your site (it’s fast becoming the law anyway)
  • Gather the right information at the right times (and refrain from gathering information you don’t need)
  • Be clear about how you’re using information (and actually use it that way)
  • Incentivize the sharing of information by showing how it will improve the customer experience

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5. Rewarding Loyalty

Speaking of that last point, Edelman overwhelmingly found that more trust means more loyalty. Make sure you take note of that and reward your customers accordingly. They’ll notice and appreciate you for it.

Loyalty programs are one way to accomplish that. They both encourage people to keep shopping with you and create additional, consistent value. (Seeing a pattern here?)

Content can prove enormously helpful here, too. There are many ways you can use it. For example:

  • Segment your customer list. Provide exclusive content like sneak peeks or behind-the-scenes content to your most diehard fans.
  • Special day content. From happy birthday emails to free gifts, show your fan base how much you appreciate them.
  • Share customer stories. Make your customers part of your brand story by sharing their story with everyone else.
sephora loyalty program

Reward customer loyalty AND generate content ideas. That’s efficiency. Source: Sephora

Drive Brand Trust in 2021 and Beyond With Content

As more and more brands move online to adapt to the post-pandemic world, building a brand that truly stands out will get even more difficult – but there’s a way to do it. Growth-focused content creators know the value of delivering relentless authenticity and value in everything they do. That’s the backbone of an amazing customer experience. Make no mistake, your customers expect it. It’s the only way you can drive brand trust.

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