Creating Trust in a Digital World
When asked what advertising sources they trust most, 84 percent of consumers say “someone I know,” and 68 percent say “consumer opinions posted online,” according to a recent study by Nielsen.
While it’s understandable we turn first to trusted friends for advice and product recommendations, it is somewhat revealing that so many of us trust people we’ve never met, and likely never will. Just someone somewhere posting an opinion online.
Trust is an innate part of our psychological wiring, consciously and unconsciously.
Societies have always thrived when people trust each other in love and in business. This trust has often been based upon our unconscious ability to read another’s body language and our own intuitive ability to discern character when in the same physical setting, or so claims recent research done by Northeastern University.
But in a society that is increasingly becoming digitized, with fewer face-to-face interactions, what role does trust play in driving our behavior, purchases and loyalty? Especially when that trust is breached constantly by apps and brands that really sell us down the river when it comes to privacy, as our data is sold to hundreds of unknown third parties?
Social psychologist Mario Mikulincer, professor and dean of the New School of Psychology at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzlyia, has studied the elements of human trust and how different expectations of human interactions form our ability to trust. People who are raised in settings that foster belief in others to do the right thing tend to base trust on three primary components, per Mikiulincer’s research as posted on PsychologyToday.com March 2014. These are:
- The assumption that if you need help, you can turn to someone you trust.
- The assumption that if you need support, your trusted friends will be there for you and happy to help.
- The recognition that support from those close to you will give you comfort and relief.
To engage consumers’ psychological drivers that influence purchase behavior and loyalty, these basic premises of trust need to be present between brands and consumers. Like the people in our world, we expect brands to help us when we need them, support our relationship with them, and make things right when they go wrong. Even in our highly digitized world, consumers still believe they form better relationships with brands and business associates in the real vs. virtual world, per a 2012 study by Dimensional Research. However, with around 200 million consumers researching or shopping online, brands must find a way to build trust at every step of an online shopping experience, not just with friendly salespeople in a brick and mortar store.
Jeanette McMurtry is a psychology-based marketing expert providing strategy, campaign development, and sales and marketing training to brands in all industries on how to achieve psychological relevance for all aspects of a customer's experience. She is the author of the recently released edition of “Marketing for Dummies” (Fifth Edition, Wiley) and “Big Business Marketing for Small Business Budgets” (McGraw Hill). She is a popular and engaging keynote speaker and workshop instructor on marketing psychology worldwide. Her blog will share insights and tactics for engaging B2B and B2C purchasers' unconscious minds which drive 90 percent of our thoughts, attitudes and behavior, and provide actionable and affordable tips for upping sales and ROI through emotional selling propositions. Her blog will share insights and tactics for engaging consumers' unconscious minds, which drive 90 percent of our thoughts and purchasing attitudes and behavior. She'll explore how color, images and social influences like scarcity, peer pressure and even religion affect consumers' interest in engaging with your brand, your message and buying from you. Reach her at Jeanette@e4marketingco.com.