Ultimately, I think marketers can do the same for their many of their campaigns by asking exactly the same question as if they were their consumer targets. Whom do they trust? The answer is “not you” until you’ve earned it, and the places and ways to do that are, increasingly, via social media of some sort. After all, eMarketer “forecasts that Facebook will have nearly 826 million users around the world this year, up from 650.7 million in 2011.” Furthermore, a survey of US adults conducted by About.com found that 84% of respondents felt that brands needed to prove themselves trustworthy before they would interact with them or other information sources. The study found that there were 10 primary trust “elements,” or cues, that brands must establish in order to engender trust, including accuracy, expertise and transparency. eMarketer again:
In a social media context, customers wanted to see that brands had a significant number of positive reviews, and that they didn’t go out of their way to hide the negative ones. The survey found that 41% of respondents said the ability to see reviews on social networks added to their feeling of trust in a brand. Reviews played a bigger role in cultivating trust than seeing that friends had “liked” or recommended a brand, or that the brand had accumulated a large tally of “likes.”
Friends trust their friends or friends of friends or entities that are human, particularly when they’re in review mode. Corporeal things, not corporate things, if you will, until those corporate things have a human face. Earlier this week I’ve written about how brands need to stop behaving like brands as well as how a cup of soup had a ton of marketing value while some marketing expenses fell flat. While I hadn’t really planned out a theme week here on the screed, maybe a reminder each day that we need to speak to our audience transparently, honestly, and in a human voice isn’t a bad thing. What do you think?