To earn customers’ loyalty, you first have to earn their trust. But as societal values shift in the wake of the pandemic, brands will have to take a different marketing approach if they hope to be seen as “trustworthy” in 2022 and beyond.
When 50% of customers believe business leaders are purposely trying to mislead them—and 65% say CEOs should step in when the government doesn’t fix societal problems—it’s clear customer values have changed over the last few years.
To become a “preferred brand,” it’s no longer enough to simply offer a stellar product or service. Companies now have to take it one step further and demonstrate a shared, human connection.
Transitioning to a marketing approach driven by shared values is new terrain—but navigating it can be made easier if marketing teams focus on two key trends:
Trend 1: Marketing for trust.
There’s no magic formula for building a trustworthy brand. That said, a combination of being consistent, accurate, reliable, and unbiased is a good start.
“Foremost, marketing for trust is about protecting your customers' privacy. Data has traditionally been the critical glue of marketing strategies, so protecting it so closely may feel counterintuitive to getting our job done effectively. But the upside for doing it right is its trust-earning potential with your existing customers and your future prospects,” says, Penny Wilson, CMO.
In 2022, brands must demonstrate heightened responsibility and care in how they collect, manage and protect customers’ data—and go to great lengths to make sure customers feel safe sharing it with them.
In addition to privacy, marketing for trust also involves using your brand’s voice and influence to advocate for issues that are important to your customers—particularly when your silence could lead to their alienation.
“The stakes of losing customer trust are high. The way a company manages societal issues and their customers' privacy can be a competitive advantage when handled authentically” say Wilson. “Trust comes from saying what you do and doing what you say—then proving it and exceeding it as often as possible,”
Trend 2: Marketing for social good.
Coming out of the pandemic, customers and employees alike want to feel more alignment, joy and moral satisfaction when they buy or work for a brand—and they believe more brands should be rising to the occasion. In fact, according to the Strength of Purpose research report, 83% of global consumers believe companies that have a positive impact on the world should be the ones earning the profits.
“Consumer (B2C), business (B2B), and employer (B2E) marketing all need to sell more than a product or service,” says Wilson. “We need to provide something bigger and more relevant to our customers, our employees, our businesses and our society. Something that allows them to connect their purchase or engagement to their values.”
Of course, the purpose-led route can be a complicated one. You don’t want to overpromise and underdeliver when it comes to social good because if you fall short, it could leave you vulnerable to public backlash. A similar response could occur if you align your organization to a social cause but aren’t transparent about your financial ties.
Therefore, the goal of any such marketing campaign should be to prioritize authenticity and transparency as much as possible by aligning your efforts with your organizational values and striving to inspire others.
Value-led marketing in action: The pharma advantage
To understand the power of value-led marketing, consider the pharmaceutical industry. This industry previously suffered from a bad reputation—that is, until the pandemic hit.
Almost overnight, the COVID-19 vaccine makers were thrown into the spotlight. Industry leaders graced the front cover of every newspaper and magazine, not because of scandal but because of the lifesaving treatments they created. People valued their opinions regarding how to secure the health of the population—and re-told stories of these amazing scientific discoveries.
“The vaccines marked a turning point in the future perception of pharmaceuticals—and marketing departments now have an opportunity to cement this reputation by becoming a more significant source of trusted health information. The use of digital communication channels will be one place where their voices will have the greatest potential of amplification,” says Scott Wassmer, GM Americas.
Arnold Leung, CEO, and Co-founder adds that patient-centric engagement strategies are now a must-have for the same reason.
“Because of the publicity generated by the launch of COVID-19 vaccines, consumer recognition of pharmaceutical brands has greatly increased. Previously, most patients didn’t know who manufactured the drugs they take. This creates an opportunity for pharma brands to finally connect with their patients in ways that build trust and encourage positive health outcomes. Patient-centric digital engagement strategies are no longer nice-to-haves for pharma companies, but a must-have,” says Leung.
Value-led marketing approaches can be strengthened with customized customer experiences. In our next Trends 2022 blog installment, we’ll discuss what these types of experiences look like—and how to execute them effectively.