Trust Leads to Loyalty

Why is a person drawn to a specific brand? In many cases we choose a brand based on how we want the world to see us—whether it is who we already are or who we wish to become.


It’s not easy to build a brand that makes people want to wear the logo on their shirts. Many, many brands aspire to be loved in this way, but precious few achieve it. The rest often rely on loyalty programs that pay customers to keep coming back.


Trust = LoyaltyReal, fierce, absolute loyalty is different. You get it by earning trust. And the way to earn trust is to consistently deliver on your promises. It requires transparency, authenticity and openness.


Our city, Seattle, is home to three of the top 10 trusted brands: Amazon, Nordstrom and Starbucks. And Microsoft comes in at #14.


Trust offers evidence—proof—to support it.. It’s built over time. And trust is the cornerstone from which loyalty grows.


Intellectually, trust invokes concepts such as confidence, reliability and assurance. Emotionally, it flows into feelings. Depending on the brand, those feelings could be peace of mind, relaxation, ease and comfort.


Here’s what Forrester Research says about trust:


Trust is the most critical component [for a brand] to develop and maintain because it has the highest correlation with brand resonance, willingness to recommend a brand, willingness to pay a premium for a brand, and preference for that brand over others like it.  . . . Key drivers of trust are meeting consumers' needs, providing a consistent experience every time they use the brand, and providing good value.


While trust has to be built authentically over time, it’s possible to use CRM to build a stronger trust bond between consumers and a brand. One way we do this is by using specific consumer insights to be more relevant—helping the customer to feel understood.

Our health insurance clients know they need to build trust with their Medicare customers—because the name of the game after the initial age-in program is all about retention. We can’t count on automatic brand loyalty in the over-65 demographic anymore, if we ever could. So we use customer insights that tell us everyone is confused about Medicare choices. That means we speak to prospects clearly, without insurance speak. (What is coinsurance? Is that different from a copayment?) And, once they’re on board as Medicare customers, we make sure we communicate about more than just their bills and care about more than just their money. We create engaging messages about their health and wellness that keep them interested.


So we return—as usual—to our data-driven approach: data helps us identify insights, which helps us create relevant messages, which gives customers greater trust in the brands we manage.