Trust-based marketing – growing your brand by building consumer trust – is something leading online review service Trustpilot is all about. As one of the company’s core value propositions, Global Marketing Program Manager Gillian Harris is tasked with communicating the concept through their marketing.
“Traditionally we’ve talked about the way that marketers can use reviews to build trust with their consumers, by portraying the great things that their customers have to say about them, or by showing them they respond to bad reviews,” she explains.
But with the issues of brand integrity and brand purpose becoming more important, Harris and her team thought they should explore exactly what elements consumers might be looking for when they check reviews – and what role that plays in consumer trust.
“We were thinking about how businesses could look within their reviews and understand what was important to their consumers, but we didn’t actually know what the most important things consumers cared about were. So we decided the best way to find out was just to ask consumers themselves.”
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Surveying consumers in 8 markets
Trustpilot used Attest to survey nearly 15,000 consumers across their key markets; the US, UK, Italy, Netherlands, France, Sweden, Germany, and Australia. They targeted consumers in four specific industries; fashion, finance, home & garden, and tech, and honed in on respondents for whom brand purpose was important.
“We asked people what sources they were most interested in looking at to understand brand purpose. So whether or not it was a company website or their social media channels or paid advertising. And then we also asked about different information sources that were external to the company. So do they use review sites to find out about a brand’s purpose? It was particularly interesting for us at Trustpilot to understand if reviews were in fact a place where people went to figure that out about a business and the results came back saying yes.”
We asked people, do they use review sites to find out about a brand’s purpose?Gillian Harris, Global Marketing Program Manager
Another interesting aspect Harris looked at was what factors make people trust a business more. These included traditional pull strategies like price and product, as well as factors like how they treat their employees and the environment.
“Usually people would value price and product overall, but the findings came back and said, no, the number one thing people care about is how businesses treat their employees, which we thought was really interesting and was very different from what we usually get back from other bits of research that we’ve done.”
Putting trust-based marketing on the map
The findings that the research uncovered help to endorse Trustpilot’s own purpose and mission. And they suggest that conscious consumerism is a growing trend in markets around the world – although Harris did note some interesting regional differences.
“One thing that was really interesting was discovering how super passionate Italy is about all of these things. They were really into purpose when it came to the brand they shop from, which is something I didn’t realise.”
Following the surveys, Trustpilot worked with a thought leadership agency to create its Brand Integrity Report, which they localised to each of the eight markets. This helped them gain interest from media outlets in different countries and provide their regional teams with relevant talking points for sales conversations.
The report will help marketers understand what consumers want to hear.Gillian Harris, Global Marketing Program Manager
“Our biggest persona are marketers,” says Harris. “So this will help them understand talking about purpose in their marketing and what consumers want to hear, what they don’t want to hear and where they should be talking about it.
“It’s been quite a different project for Trustpilot, outside of the regular kind of content pieces that we do. We set out to do a truly global piece of research that could be valuable to everybody. And it really has been.”
The bigger picture
Now Trustpilot have a better understanding of the way consumers think about brand integrity and what they really care about, they plan to interview CMOs from each region to get the marketer’s perspective.
“We want to understand, is purpose something that marketers use in their marketing, and when they’re talking about their brand? Do they really know how to do that? Which channels are a good fit for purpose? We’re hoping that instead of just saying, ‘here are the results, this is really interesting’, that we’ll be able to provide a roadmap for marketers to talk about these things.”
We’re hoping to be able to provide a roadmap for marketers to talk about brand purpose.Gillian Harris, Global Marketing Program Manager
Harris adds that educating businesses about meeting the needs of today’s conscious consumer will continue to form part of their marketing strategy. This includes repeating the brand integrity survey in future to see how the trends have changed.
“That can be really valuable, especially in keeping the longevity of the campaign and our conversation going,” she says. “The consumer side of the business is a main component of our strategy, and is only going to be growing and growing. So understanding our consumers through surveys such as this is only going to become more important.”
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