Nearly one year later, Covid-19 is continuing to impact businesses and brands all over the world, and we’ve now seen a much bigger shift in buying behaviour than we ever have done before.
Prior to the pandemic, we were already living in a time where brand trust was rapidly declining, but Covid-19 has only accelerated this depletion of trust — even despite the fact that people have become more reliant on certain services and products during this time.
But trust really is the make-or-break difference for brands if they want to succeed and prosper both now and beyond the current crisis. But how can they successfully build back trust and integrity in a time where society is so cynical?
Transparency, empathy and compassion are key. Brands must now really focus their messaging on solutions, not just selling their products or services. According to Edelman’s Covid-19 brand trust report, 85% of those surveyed said they want brand advertising to focus on helping people cope with pandemic-related life challenges, with 77% saying that they want brands only to speak about products in ways that show they are aware of the crisis and the impact on people’s lives.
But this also rings true outside of pandemic-related matters, and will continue to do so once we finally emerge from the other side. Buyers want to hear from brands that understand the current challenges they face and how they can help to overcome them — whether it’s a consumer struggling to achieve a perfect skin complexion or a business leader who is failing to improve the company’s productivity levels.
To put it simply, brands need to think about how they can best connect with their audience and stay true to the company’s values, without force-feeding brand messaging down their throats, or talking at them where they will feel like they’re not being listened to.
But what’s also important here is to shift the conversation from the brand itself to the actively engaged leaders within the business. According to research, buyers are now less influenced by messages that are pushed on them by brands, but are instead more empowered than ever to pull information from trusted sources within a business. In addition, a significant amount of buyers (82%) are more likely to trust a company whose leadership team is active on social media.
We are currently seeing the rise of the CEO and other C-level executives as a means of trust in activity on social platforms like LinkedIn. Take a look at Richard Branson for example. His LinkedIn page is continually being updated with engaging, empathetic content that really resonates with his audience on topical matters like wellbeing in the workplace and how he is responding the current global crisis.
Whether it’s through short and regular LinkedIn posts, or longer-form blog content that takes a deeper dive into a particular subject matter, it’s the humanised content that will not only dramatically increase their influence on brand and reputation, but will generate a higher level of trust for the brand as a whole.
To learn more about how we are helping to turn business executives into brand influencers, take a look at our digital executive programme offering here.