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How Brands Can Build Trust Through Transparency

Insights / 11.29.2018

Heather Molina / Vice President, Paid & Earned Media

Relationships are hard.
 
But these days, the most challenging relationship is the one consumers have with technology platforms that have become so deeply integrated into their everyday rituals. It's a relationship that is vital to brands and how they connect to consumers.

The Current Landscape

Simply put, the marriage between technology and the consumer is one brands can’t ignore. With recent data breaches across multiple social networks, increasing concerns about voice-recognition devices, smart-home products, etc., consumers are warier than ever of not only the platforms and technology themselves, but the brands they engage with. A recent eMarketer survey shows that consumers find brands overstepping their boundaries and at time, coming off as" too aggressive" and "creepy."
 
Are brands keeping tight enough reins on their digital presence?
 
In March 2018, Red Door shared a POV on how to deal with the Cambridge Analytica scandal on Facebook. Then, there was a global push for brands to become GDPR compliant in anticipation of European regulations taking effect in May 2018.

The Effect on Consumers

In light of these occurrences, consumers expect more transparency from brands – specifically on social media channels. A recent Sprout Social report revealed that, “41% of consumers expect brands to be transparent about their marketing practices on social media.”

So, what’s the outcome of this transparency?
 
A better relationship with brands via purchases and recommendations.

From Red Door’s point of view, we’ve noticed that the brands we partner with want us to help them stay on top of consumer perspectives and in doing so, keep them aware of shifts we see on the horizon. Whether it's an increased click-through-rate on a transparently-messaged ad unit, a higher conversion rate on a paid social ad with deeper targeting parameters, or a response to a simple organic social post, we have an established process that feeds these KPIs and comments back to clients, allowing us to work together to build and maintain brand trust.

What can brands do to ensure they’re seen as transparent and safe?

The first thing we consider is the overall effectiveness of the campaigns we’re running. If KPIs are not being hit, that could be an indication that there is a lack of trust in the brand. Before launching any campaign, we ask ourselves a litany of questions, including:

  • Has there been a drop-off in clicks to the site from the campaign after an ad creative change, with all other elements (ad positioning, bidding, targeting) staying the same?  Obviously, this can indicate that the new ad creative is not resonating with consumers. But, it can also be an indicator that users are not trusting the messaging. Staying on top of optimizing ad text creative and rotating out non-performing ads is useful in understanding how consumer sentiment is playing against the brand.  

  • What is the conversation around the brand on social platforms?  Using a social analytics technology, like NetBase, should be part of a brand or agency's tool kit. Looking at the monthly and ongoing conversations, combined with brand sentiment, is an easy way to know how consumers are receiving the brand's message.

  • How has their content performed?  What's the bounce rate look like for the strategic content pieces developed on the site? Is traffic coming to the page, staying on it for a sufficient amount of time to consume it, and then going on to other pages of the site or taking an action set up? Or are they quickly bouncing from the site all together? And is this content getting shared on social media and other sites? If there are links to the content pages on the site that are growing over time in volume, that's an indication that brand perception is strong. Consumers and sites won't share and link to content they don't trust. 

 
As we go full force into 2019, brand trust undoubtedly remains an ever-growing part of the conversation, as brands need to capture and (re)gain consumer trust. Want to shift from reactive from proactive? Contact us today, and we’ll give you the tools needed to take your trust from “who dis?” to “oh hai!”

Content Marketing,Insights,Paid Media,Social Media

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