Building Brand Trust in Our “New Normal”
From a global pandemic to seismic movements against social injustices, the vast and numerous headlines of 2020 have sent shockwaves across every aspect of daily life. In the financial industry, these catalysts have expedited many changes that were already in motion, from adopting new technologies to providing more inclusive holistic services that account for all aspects of life. In marketing communications, brand trust has become more important than ever.
In a recent report from Edelman evaluating brand trust in 2020:
- 70 percent say trusting a brand is more important today than in the past – a shared belief among different age groups, genders and income backgrounds.
- Nearly 7 in 10 say that they use one or more strategies to avoid viewing advertisements, making the importance of earned media such as public relations of even greater value and importance.
- An overwhelming majority want a brand that solves problems, both big and small, with 85 percent wanting brands to ‘solve my problems,’ 80 percent wanting brands to ‘solve society’s problems.’
How to create brand trust: Actions speak louder than words
Every company big and small has a brand. Whether you are intentional about shaping your brand is up to you. A brand consists of a compelling message paired with a distinctive image. Over time, consistency creates awareness and recognition where something as simple as a tagline or icon can evoke a series of emotions and associations. Building a contagious brand culture that breeds trust, loyalty, engagement and raving fans requires one more critical ingredient—action.
What actions can your business take to solve problems?
In my previous blog, I shared ways to brainstorm and prioritize the immediate needs and concerns of your clients and prospects. With those motivations top of mind, it’s time to take action!
- Organize events – from fundraisers to featuring subject-matter experts and guest speakers—your clients and prospects are looking for opportunities to unite and connect now more than ever. Organize a webinar or reoccurring series to introduce new ideas and opportunities to build your community. While many are enjoying new virtual educational opportunities, consider the social element that so many are desperate for in our socially distanced state. From Zoom happy hours to virtual women’s luncheons, brainstorm ways to provide stimulation and connectivity that will be most meaningful to your people—including clients, prospects, centers of influence, and even your staff should be a key audience as well! Your team is one of your biggest assets and a direct reflection of your brand experience. The culture you design should extend to creating an intentional work environment with ways for members to feel connected and inspired brand advocates!
- Advise on strategies for financial gifting – with so many causes and Americans in need of financial support, become a resource to your clients and community for vetting credible non-profit organizations. Charity Navigator has set up dedicated resources for organizations supporting civil rights as well as COVID-19 relief. Identify local chapters in your area where contributions can make the most direct impact on your community, and formulate tips such as utilizing qualified charitable contributions (QCDs) to provide additional tax benefits to your clients. Then get the word out through email marketing, social media and your local media.
- Consider social priorities & impact – Especially in an election year, politically charged or polarizing viewpoints should generally be handled with extreme caution by small business owners. Even empty words of encouragement, when not backed by action, can quickly create distrust. Instead, consider ways you can create meaningful change within your own business. This can be as simple as incorporating more diversity into your marketing to expanding your offerings to include socially responsible investment options that align with your clients’ core beliefs and values. In recent years, the financial industry has been placing a new focus on lifestyle-driven planning, where advisors are beginning to explore deeper motivations, behavioral influences and overall factors for life satisfaction beyond traditional risk tolerance and financial goals. As an advisor, this approach provides an opportunity to build a deeply meaningful connection in early conversations around money. By offering investment options that align with their core values and beliefs, clients will have a new way to simultaneously help organizations and causes that are important to them while also working toward their personal financial goals with their investments. Win-win.
Regardless of what organizations or causes are most meaningful to you, at AdvisorPR, we are here to help. We will ask you the difficult questions that shape your brand and provide the tools needed to build trust and amplify your voice as an innovator and thought leader in your community. Contact us today to discuss how we can be of help.
Courtney Browning, vice president of marketing for AdvisorPR, is an experienced financial marketing professional having established integrated marketing communication plans and provided consulting on coordinated marketing and branding initiatives for hundreds of financial advisors over the past decade, as well as firsthand experience as an insurance and securities licensed advisor. Established in 2005, AdvisorPR is a branding, marketing and public relations firm dedicated to providing custom and turnkey marketing communications solutions exclusively to financial professionals and the corporate companies that serve them.