Fake news! We’ve heard it all a million times. Perhaps you’ve even uttered the phrase yourself. While we could write a whole blog post about fake news, that’s not what this is about. This is about how this claim and others in recent memory are degrading our trust in the media. Trust is important, its the difference between someone believing your message or disregarding it entirely.
According to a recent report by Global Web Index more than 40% of american consumers do not trust traditional media anymore. This presents a problem on two fronts; First, your ad dollars support journalism which is more critical now than ever before, and secondly your advertising becomes less effective if the audience doesn’t trust you or the platform. If ad revenue for quality journalism declines, so does the effectiveness of journalism. News deserts have huge impacts on local communities from public health news to local corruption, the role of journalism is critical. If you don’t believe us, hear it directly from those being impacted.
In addition to a diminishing trust in the media, consumers have a waning trust and interest in large brands and banks.
So what’s a brand to do?
You want people to trust you and the platform you’re reaching them on. The answer? Build better connections with your audience. One out of 5 young Americans say the brands they buy reflect their values according to that same 2020 Global Web Index study. More and more, consumers are shopping with a conscience and want their brands to be doing the same. It’s about understanding who your consumers are and what they want, what their aspirations are, what values are important to them, and making sure that they are all well represented not just in your advertisements but in your workforce, leadership, and company policies. You have to walk the walk, and your consumers will know and appreciate the difference.
In addition to doing all the right things, you can further build meaningful connections with your audience and fans by building content for them to engage with. A great example of this was Volkswagen’s send off to the VW Bug. The ad pays homage to what a cultural icon the bug had become and gives space to all its fans to say goodbye. It wasn’t just an advertisement trying to sell something. It didn’t ask anything of the audience, it gave something to them. It elicited an emotional response. A powerful content piece like this can certainly help a brand build trust. Some other ways you can engage with your audience to build trust and loyalty (aside from all the obvious ones previously mentioned like being an honest brand people can trust in the first place) is to build content that adds value. Share a story like Ford did with the re-release of the Ford Bronco, or use your advertising dollars to have a positive impact on culture like Seventh Generation is currently doing in their Get Out The Vote campaign. You can also create pieces of content that inform and help your audience, like writing a white paper or creating a “how-to.” The possibilities are truly endless.
If you want to learn more about how you can build back trust by being what we call Responsibly Different™ check out our article about B Corps and stay tuned to learn more about why representation in your advertising is important and the impact it can have on your bottom line.