Brand trust is one of the most valuable intangible assets in business. But in the commercial environment trust can be elusive and brands must work to build and maintain it. To do this brands must be reliable, responsible and deliver on their promises. Factors such as use (or indeed, misuse) of consumer data mean trust will grow in importance for brands and consumers.
Brand trust reflects a consumer's expectation that a brand's product, service, or more broadly, corporate behaviour, reflects the promises the company has made.
1. The brand trust crisis may be exaggerated but is a problem
The commonly held view is that trust in brands has declined substantially in the last twenty years. There is 2019 evidence of declining trust in businesses and brands. Three-quarters of consumers globally think it is now harder to trust what brands say and do according to 2019 research from Ford and Harris Insights and Analytics. Two-thirds of respondents also said that once a brand loses their trust, there is no getting it back. Consumer trust in 15 different industries to 'do what is right' has fallen globally between 2019 and 2020, according to 2019 research from PR firm and consultancy Edelman. Consumer trust in the technology and entertainment industries fell by the largest amount – down four percentage points (pp). While year on year changes do occur and significant drops can be interpreted as evidence of a crisis, the long-term trend is more positive and shows that since 2012 the technology sector is the only one to see a decline in trust. That said, with only a third of consumers trusting most of the brands they use and buy, there is a problem which needs addressing. Edelman’s research shows that brand trust is as important as price and is a deciding purchase factor for more than 80% of consumers.