Over the years many of the largest, most beloved brands have built their reputations and business operations around purposeful causes and organizations that align with company values. In the past, consumers haven’t always focused their buying decisions on this or a brand’s company values when weighing their options.
As 2020 has been consumed with global crises, catastrophic events, and cries for change around social issues, consumers have stepped back to rethink how and where they’re using their purchasing power. We have compiled high-level themes brands should consider when looking to build consumer trust through authenticity in advertising. Here are a few things to consider:
Stand for something.
Nearly 60% of consumers say brands need to use their marketing dollars to advocate for racial equality and to educate the public on these issues.
But what earns trust and what loses trust? Four times as many respondents say that taking a stand on racial injustice gains brand trust versus losing it.
Since 1985, Patagonia has built its business around its values that are reflective of the company’s founders, a band of climbers and surfers: “Build the best product; cause no unnecessary harm; use business to protect nature.”
Patagonia uses the company’s natural resources to find solutions to the environmental crisis. Using its business, investments, voice, and imaginations to support global initiatives. One of its most well-known initiatives, 1% for the Planet, is dedicated to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment. Giving one percent of its annual sales back to the planet, Patagonia has awarded $89 million in cash and in-kind donations to domestic and international grassroots environmental groups making a difference in their local communities.
Show. Don’t tell.
Trust is now second to price for consumer purchasing decisions and loyalty.
Trust is built through communication and action. And this matters more than ever. Critical since 46% of consumers trust most of the brands they buy or use.
Sysco’s Foodservice Doesn’t Brake for Adversity campaign was designed to encourage consumers to support local small foodservice businesses during the global pandemic while highlighting the resilience of all food service workers.
Simultaneously, Sysco showed its dedication to the communities it services with a one-month social media campaign Take Out To Give Back, encouraging consumers to share pictures of take-out meals from local restaurants. The company donated 50 cents for each photo totaling a $150,000 donation to its longtime partner No Kid Hungry. So far this year, Sysco has donated 30 million meals globally, and helped more than 900 community organizations, to address hunger and food insecurity during COVID-19, according to a recent press release.
Authenticity is no longer an option.
In a time where connection is limited, your brand should sound and act more human. Consumers know when brands are trying to sell them. But they can also tell when brands use advertising dollars to tell a story based on values, which can create a great deal of common ground. And, right now, isn’t that something most of us are looking for? Authentic, transparent communication and paralleled action will provide a lifetime of consumer trust and loyal purchasing decisions.