“Customers are in the midst of a trust crisis,” Salesforce CMO Stephanie Buscemi recently observed. Citing a Salesforce study, she said “54% of customers don’t think companies operate with their best interests in mind.”
Richard Edelman made a similar observation after the Edelman 2019 Brand Trust Survey published earlier this year:
“Eighty-one percent say, ‘Trust in brands is an important part of my purchase behavior,’ but only one-third of people say they trust the brands that they buy. So that’s an incredible opportunity for brands...
“Trust really matters for brands now. I think it’s a completely new moment for brands where it’s not enough for brands to communicate. You actually have to make a difference.”
The Edelman Survey found that 41% of consumers don’t trust brands’ marketing communications to be accurate and truthful. They also found that 53% of people expect brands to get involved in at least one social issue not directly related to the business, yet 56% say brands overuse social issues “as marketing ploys.”
Brand trust seems to have it a new low. Yet, I think that the emphasis on this as a “new moment for brands” misses how long it can take for brands to build up trust. This isn’t an overnight fix. Brand trust doesn’t change with one campaign, one promotion, one touchpoint, or one social stance. Brands have to earn trust over time.
As Will Rogers famously put it, “it takes a lifetime to build a good reputation, but you can lose it in a minute.”
A big thanks to Bethany Johnson for suggesting this cartoon idea.
Here are a few related cartoons I’ve drawn over the years.