Another survey shows brand trust affects purchase decisions

If marketers think brand trust is just a nice-to-have, a new SurveyMonkey survey shows it’s a must-have.

“Businesses that fail to establish trust — the foundation of any relationship — will lose to businesses who can,” said SurveyMonkey CEO Zander Lurie in a statement accompanying the survey results. The survey conducted by his company found that brand trust affects the bottom line in a variety of ways.

Established brands, spinoff brands and recommendations. Trust in a brand matters “a great deal” or “a lot” for 65 percent of the survey respondents, and “some” for another 27 percent.

Not surprisingly, the survey found that consumers in the US, UK and Canada would rather make a big purchase from established brands than from untested startups.

For 90 percent of respondents, this was an important consideration for financial services products, as well as for medical expenses (91 percent), consumer electronics (83 percent), and even for lower-priced items, like shoes (66 percent.)

And trust can be passed along. The study found that, if a trusted brand creates a spinoff brand, 73 percent will trust that spinoff.

The survey also touched on how different strengths of trust affect purchase decisions. Sixty percent had the greatest trust for recommendations from a friend or family member, compared to a celebrity endorsement or online influencer. Only eight percent said they would buy something because a celebrity pitched it, and only 13 percent because of an influencer.

How to generate trust. A key question for brands is how to generate trust. Zander said that his company’s research “shows the key to establishing this kind of trust begins by listening to your customers’ voice and opinions, and then acting on those insights.”

In addition to the length of a relationship with a customer, something established brands enjoy, a good web presence can help. Almost a third of millennials who responded to the survey and about a quarter of non-millennials, for instance, don’t trust companies without a website.

Most marketers would assume that, at this point in the history of the world, virtually every company has a web site of some sort. But a SurveyMonkey/CNBC research last year found that almost half of small businesses don’t have a site, and a bit more than a third of all small businesses don’t use the sites they have to post news about their brand.

How to lose trust. While there are undoubtedly many ways that a brand can lose consumer trust, 75 percent pointed to a poor experience with the product, 71 percent to a poor customer service experience and 67 percent to a product or service that doesn’t live up to the company’s promise.

Or it could be an offensive ad. Almost half of the American respondents said such an ad would affect their trust in a brand, for instance. For 21 percent of millennials, brand trust could be diminished because of a lack of diversity in a brand’s ads. Other events that make consumers lose trust include scandals among the brand’s leadership or security breaches.

The online survey was conducted last month, with 3,053 compensated respondents across the US, UK and Canada.

Why this matters to marketers. The SurveyMonkey effort is only the latest to show that brand trust has a direct effect on a company’s bottom line.

A recent NPR/Marist poll, for instance, found that 67 percent of Amazon customers trust that company to protect their personal data, a high degree of trust that undoubtedly relates to the fact that 92 percent of US online shoppers have bought something from the superstore.

And an Accenture study, released last week, showed how a loss of trust can affect a company’s growth and profit. It created a Strategic Competitive Agility Index for 7,000 firms, and found that about half (54 percent) had experienced a decline in consumer trust in the past two and a half years because of such factors as data breaches, “C-suite missteps,” regulatory violations or negative PR.

As our reporter Greg Sterling noted, Accenture found that those companies with a drop in trust put at least $180 billion in revenue at risk.

This story first appeared on MarTech Today. For more on marketing technology, click here.

About The Author

Barry Levine covers marketing technology for Third Door Media. Previously, he covered this space as a Senior Writer for VentureBeat, and he has written about these and other tech subjects for such publications as CMSWire and NewsFactor. He founded and led the web site/unit at PBS station Thirteen/WNET; worked as an online Senior Producer/writer for Viacom; created a successful interactive game, PLAY IT BY EAR: The First CD Game; founded and led an independent film showcase, CENTER SCREEN, based at Harvard and M.I.T.; and served over five years as a consultant to the M.I.T. Media Lab. You can find him at LinkedIn, and on Twitter at xBarryLevine.

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