Brand trust in advertising agencies is deteriorating, as concerns over transparency continue to erode the long-term business partnerships.

A new (January 2019) study conducted by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) revealed that only 29% of the 400-plus member marketers surveyed ranked the current level of trust between client-side marketers and advertising agencies as “high.”

The survey further demonstrated that 55% identified trust as being “moderate” and 17% reported that the trust level was “low”.

The findings are particularly alarming when measured against a similar analysis the trade organization conducted three years ago. Although the majority of respondents (59%) said that the level of trust between marketers and agencies has stayed about the same, 28% said that their measure of confidence in their third-party partners has declined, compared with just 13% who reported an improved level of trust.

According to the ANA, “Transparency was a common denominator across all survey respondents, and the report indicated that enhanced transparency contributed to high trust while transparency concerns contributed to moderate and low trust.”

Clients taking work in-house was a secondary reason for the current level of trust between client-side marketers being either moderate or low.

In response to the new study, the trade organization has formed a new ANA Trust Consortium intended to help its members address the issue of trust between marketers and the digital supply chain.

“The ANA Trust Consortium is designed to help marketers advance the interests of their brands and provide them with the tools they need to keep supply chain participants honest and transparent,” said Bob Liodice, ANA CEO.

“Trust is the foundation of growth and will be restored through full transparency and integrity – not through realignment or pre-negotiated positions.”

Added Marc Pritchard, ANA chair and Procter & Gamble chief brand officer, “It is high time to finally achieve a fully transparent digital media supply chain so we can stop wasting effort on trust issues and instead focus on innovation and creativity to drive growth.

“While progress has been made, the Trust Consortium will raise the bar to provide brands with the tools they need to prevent inertia from stalling hard-fought advances, expose non-transparent practices, and demand new levels of transparency.”

Founding members of the Trust Consortium include the law firm Reed Smith (the ANA’s general counsel), Firm Decisions, KPMG, Ebiquity, ID Comms, PJL Media, Reset Digital, PRGX Global, Simulmedia, MediaLink, Ron Pullem, and Cortex Media.

Sourced from ANA; additional content by WARC staff