While we’ve all had a good laugh at the many memes illustrating what the dumpster fire 2020 has become, the reality is that this year has brought a fundamental shift in consumer behaviour that is here to stay.

With all of the chaos 2020 has brought us — a global pandemic, political scandals, contact tracing, conspiracy theories, online battles over medical information, just to name a few —  consumers have built up a wall to protect themselves and have raised their standards for the brands they spend their money with. They want to purchase from brands who not only demonstrate social responsibility, but who also listen, request consent, and who take their privacy seriously. This is what’s called the trust economy, and it’s something all brands should have at the forefront of their strategy.

Let’s take a break from practicing our next TikTok dance, and dive into what we feel are the top reasons you should be focusing on the trust economy:

Download: Social Media vs. The Trust Economy

The social media quagmire: the fuel to the fire

With news feeds fed by algorithms that make it harder for users to see opposing views, social media platforms have contributed to the polarisation of society. When consumers login, their social media feeds are flooded with breaking news headlines containing conflicting medical information, conspiracy theories, hate speech, and the list goes on.

With all of this noise on social feeds, it’s no wonder only 14% of consumers now believe the info they read on social media is trustworthy. Brands should see this as an opportunity to step away from contributing to the noise, and instead take a pause to listen to what their consumers truly want, and reassure their consumers that they have their best interest at heart. This small, but significant action will build that foundational layer of trust.

Empowering and protecting consumers  

We may have lost count of the number of data breaches that have happened in the past 10 years, but we haven’t forgotten them. Consumers are protective of their data, and they won’t hand it over to just anyone anymore.

Having the right privacy policies in place, managing data responsibly and requesting consent up front, and often, can show consumers that you’re taking their permission and privacy seriously. Once you’ve gained their trust, you can offer consumers value in exchange for more data points like preferences, interests and motivators, allowing you to not only own your own data, but to better personalise content for your consumer and create an emotional connection that will lead to lifelong loyalty. Consumers will be more likely to spend money with the brands they feel are listening to their needs and protecting their privacy.

Aligned values drive emotional connection 

While consumers have felt isolated, they’ve begun searching for a way to feel connected to a larger purpose. According to Forrester, during the pandemic, over one-third of U.S. consumers spent more time thinking about the environment and their roles in their local and global community.

Along those same lines, 41% percent of U.S. online adults look to buy from companies that align with their values. Once we emerge from quarantine and the economy rebounds, the brands that contributed to society in a meaningful way will see the biggest benefit. Whether it’s helping local communities, shifting to be more environmentally conscious or taking a stance against social injustice, when consumers find a brand whose values align with theirs, it creates an emotional connection at the deepest level.

It’s time for marketers to invest in building direct-to-consumer relationships and own their own data. Building trust is just the beginning. Download our latest white paper to learn more. https://chdig.co/33lrNU3

Written by Kayla Siegmeier – Senior Manager, Communications Strategy.