Notice what I did there with the title how I purposely put a space in between the words “trust” and “worthy?”

I did it for dramatic effect (did it have any?) and to make a point which is to ask the simple question is your brand worthy of a consumer’s trust? Now obviously that is a very broad, far-reaching query and the answer can be determined and predicated by a whole host of factors.

For example the issue of trust or lack thereof can stem from the actions of a given brand’s CEO as it pertains to social media.

In a piece for MarketingProfs earlier this year C-Level Exec, Improve Your Brand Image by Using Social Media I wrote about the results of a CEO survey conducted by BRANDfog which revealed the ever-growing importance and need for c-level suite folks to use social media as a means to engage its customers and prospects alike and to earn their trust in the process.

So that’s one example of how a given brand can earn a consumer’s trust, or least be on the path to trustworthiness, as it were.

But what about the content a given brand spews out on a daily basis? Is that trustworthy?

Well according to a study done by MediaBrix “digital, social and mobile advertising appearing as content can be damaging to brand trust.” The verbiage in quotes was culled directly from the press release announcing the findings and I thought it was spot on so I decided to use it verbatim.

So it would appear that in the context of specific types of advertising as noted above, some brands can in fact do damage to the level of trust they have established with its customers and potentially prospects.

From the survey:

  • 86% of US internet users had been misled by videos that appeared to be content but turned out to be sponsored ads
  • 57% of those who had seen them in the past 12 months found Facebook sponsored stories misleading
  • 45% of those who had seen them in the past 12 months found Twitter promoted tweets misleading

Moreover just about the same percentage (85%) indicated that when they came across sponsored video ads that appear to be content negatively impacted or had no impact on their perception of the brand being advertised. Either way you look at it, a great number of consumers are not being positively affected by these type of ads.

It’s A Matter Of Trust

It that same aforementioned MarketingProfs article, I referenced the piano man himself, Billy Joel and his song “A Matter of Trust” and specifically the lyric that references the “constant battle for the ultimate state of control.” We all know that battle has been won; the consumer is in complete control. And to paraphrase Joel, the consumer “can take it or leave it, whatever they choose.”

So the onus is on brand marketers and brand managers  and keeper of brand flames to earn the trust from consumers and earn is absolutely the operative word. To not try and trick or mislead the consumer by hiding under the veil of content marketing what is really an advertisement to move some product.

The bottom line here kids is consumers are a lot smarter than brand managers, brand marketers and marketers and advertisers in general think they are.

Sources: MarketingProfseMarketerMediaBrix