Trust isn’t given, it’s earned. And this statement couldn’t be truer for B2B brands.
According to the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer study, 70% of people said brand trust is more important today than it ever was in the past.
However, right now we are facing an epidemic of misinformation and widespread mistrust of societal institutions, and it’s preventing growth, especially for B2B brands.
Trust At An All-Time Low
Trust is at an all-time low in this time of skepticism and noise, which is arguably the result of how governments and corporations have handled global events like Covid-19 and other cultural and political crises.
The public reaction to these mishandlings is just one of the reasons why 95% of CMOs and brand managers are kept up at night by the issue of establishing trust between their brands and consumers.
We are all feeling the pressure to be perfect and show we are a trustworthy brand to work with. And this pressure can be linked to the growing demand from customers for brands to be as transparent and respond to such crises as quickly as possible.
86% of people who took part in the Edelman study said CEOs should speak out publicly about societal challenges, and right now only a few are doing that. Those that are speaking out are reaping the rewards.
It’s not only the pressure to present as a competent and reliable brand that is causing problems...
Brand Trust: The Covid-19 Effect
Covid-19 has changed the way we do business for good.
Gone are the days when client business meetings were face to face, or you could hop on a plane to meet your desired client; now we are conducting our business meetings online. And as we all know, building a trustworthy relationship online is incredibly difficult.
How can you trust someone you’ve never met in person? Of course, B2B businesses want to ensure that working with you will provide a great ROI, but clients will only agree to work with you if they trust you. It’s as simple as that.
So, how do you gain trust in a digital and unpredictable world?
How Has B2B Brand Trust Evolved?
The internet has grown exponentially over the past 10 years, and the shift from offline to digital marketing is here to stay. But this shift makes it harder to gain trust in a few ways.
B2B brands have been leveraging Big Data to obtain customer information and appeal to their desired customers’ buying habits.
However, customers are now more wary of sharing their data.
A lot of online users fear brands will misuse personal information, which leads to many users opting to switch off their smartphone location options and clearing cookies off their browsers.
Big tech companies like Google are starting to respond to their users' growing demand for a privacy-first internet experience by removing third-party cookies from Chrome, which will cause an industry shake-up over the next couple of years.
So, with this shift towards a privacy-led digital world, we need to think of new ways to connect with our prospective clients through a screen. This may seem daunting. But there are solutions to this growing problem...
5 Ways to Build Trust in Your B2B Brand
1. Be Honest & Transparent
This should be pretty self-explanatory, but it needs reiterating.
There’s so much hyperbole and misleading stories out there that you can’t blame your clients for being cautious of you.
But please don’t be shy! Let your truths be known. Be candid and talk about the daily problems you and your buyers may face as this will help you earn their trust. This shows you are aware of their needs and are empathetic towards their struggles.
B2B brands should also stand strong and show they are willing to challenge industry norms and provide innovative solutions to match their clients' needs. You need to show your prospects your value, and demonstrate this through the content and results you are producing.
Taking the time to stand up and show what your values are and what you have to offer will allow prospects to see you are a brand they can trust over others in the market.
At the end of the day, actions speak louder than words.
2. Share Your Company Values
Far too many B2B brands sit silently on cultural or societal issues, and many are too afraid to share what they stand for in case of backlash. But your silence speaks volumes.
Don’t be afraid to let your customers know what your company stands for and what you stand against. From a buyer’s perspective, if you stand for nothing or believe in nothing, you mean nothing.
To gain trust, you need to show that you mirror your desired clients’ values, concerns, and priorities before they even consider working with you.
Your business should function in a way that reflects your values. If your employees understand your vision and focus on sharing this vision both internally and externally, it will make a huge difference to your brand’s image and reputation.
When you’re fully transparent with your prospects you can work on building trust through your shared principles.
If your vision for your business is actively making a positive change in the world, then let people know! Then educate the industry on why your vision is so beneficial.
3. Research & Create Original Content
74% of B2B buyers consider original research from brands to be influential with purchasing decisions, yet only 34% of marketers use original research reports to create new content.
When creating new content, you can collect your own data to add value to your business claims. With any content you produce, you are trying to solve a problem your target audience may be struggling with, which will in turn increase your business value.
Remember, original and thought-provoking content that demonstrates your value or your company’s values can fuel an array of marketing campaigns.
However, don’t fall into the trap of creating content that focuses on a product or service, B2B buyers are overwhelmed with this form of content that they will most likely read the few lines and click off or maybe not even look at it. Let your business do the talking for you.
Focus your content on new ideals and industry shake-ups as this will highlight you are a leading authority in your chosen field.
It’s not the services you offer that adds the most value to your brand, it’s your knowledge of the latest trends and industry issues that hold the most value.
4. Connect With Your Customers Emotionally
To gain a competitive advantage in the B2B market you must embrace transparency and honesty with open arms. Buyers are bombarded with sales pitches, marketing campaigns, and phone calls on a weekly basis, so your approach needs to cut through the noise.
A great way to demonstrate your intent is through empathy. We must remember we’re marketing our brand to a person. People trust those who care about their problems and feel they have their best interests at heart.
So, to form a new connection with a potential client, we need to be relatable. It’s important to show how your solution will have a positive impact on your prospective clients on a personal level.
Your buyer’s reputation is on the line with every B2B purchase and because of this, you need to show them that you understand their needs and have the solutions that will work for them.
5. Put Code Marketing Into Action
Unlike B2C brands, B2B companies don’t usually sell a product or service, they provide a solution. And when you provide an intangible solution, it can be a difficult sell, because your clients can’t try before they buy.
Allowing your clients to try your solution before they buy is a very tempting offer. You’re not just telling them how your solutions would be beneficial; you’re allowing them to see for themselves. And this is the ultimate trust builder.
The perfect “try before you buy” approach for digital marketers is known as code marketing. Originally developed by and for SaaS providers, code marketing has gained mass popularity and is now an integral part of many B2B digital marketing strategies.
In short, code marketing is a strategy that allows customers to try your products or solutions through self-service and online channels.
If you want your B2B marketing campaign to be a success, your primary sales channels need to be online. Integrate digital-first strategies into your business model during the production stage.
For some of you, these strategies will be simple, but a great proportion of B2B brands will need to think outside the box to find ways they can provide an engaging free trial experience.
For example, you could provide a complimentary online interaction with your prospects. Here you could share relevant data and discuss the types of data that would improve their sales.
Or you could even allow your prospects to order a less expensive subscription to your product, so they can try out your services without a long-term commitment.
Building trust in B2B marketing is no easy feat, but as B2B marketers it’s our job to implement the strategies that nurture and strengthen that trust.
While this may take time to build, the rewards that will be gained once you become a leading trustworthy brand are exponential.
Please don’t allow yourself to fade into the background. Now is the time to stand up and show the market exactly who you are and what you believe in, as it’s this stance that will set you apart from your competitors.