Why Building Trust Shouldn’t Be Fake News

However we wish we could deny it, we are now living in a society with little trust, driven by “fake news”. This lack of faith is clearly seen in the marketing world. Customers are highly skeptical of almost everything; with trust in media falling to all time lows in many countries (not just the United States). Even the businesses themselves are feeling the effects of minimal faith. Branding and executive leadership have been called into question, and are experiencing similar situations to media.

Given how much we talk about Millennials and how much effort marketers put into appealing to that demographic, it isn’t surprising that they are skeptical of advertising. What is surprising? Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers are right there with Millennials. Generations across the board are beginning to lose faith in marketing, branding, and businesses in general. It is a struggle to maintain believability when trust is at rock bottom.

Usually when one area begins to decrease, another area increases. So what is surging as trust in media declines?

We as a collective population have much more faith in our peers. Apparently information with regard to a brand achieved from a peer is more credible than that gained from an academic or expert. 50% of consumers check online reviews before buying a product. On top of that, 78% of people that actually read the reviews find them to be reliable.

So what is a brand to do with this new information?

Amp up their trust marketing! Show existing customers that they are valued. Customer opinions carry so much more weight than they once did. Make sure you are doing everything in your power to make your customers experience a positive one.

Now, that’s all well and good for building trust. But is there a way to track metrics with online reviews?

Of course there is. Proactively seeking feedback from consumers helps businesses develop numerous different forms of trackable data. Collecting reviews also greatly increases SEO and traffic value. Plus, the average Click-Through-Rate for brands that gain Google Seller Ratings increased to as much as 17%.

Unless your brand is absolutely perfect and above reproach, it’s likely that there are going to be some negative reviews. Responding publicly to those reviews, if done correctly, is like a gold mine for building faith. Engaging with disgruntled consumers shows transparency and a lack of guile. There is almost no better way to garner trust from your consumer base.

At this point, it is nearly impossible to hypothesize when we as a country might get back to normal trust levels. Brands and marketers need to do everything in their power to win the faith of their customers. It’s either that or continuously get punched in the gut (and the wallet) by another source of distrust.


Shannon Curtis, the author, doesn’t know if she should trust her parents when they tell her Santa Claus is real. Shannon is the Project / Social Media Coordinator at Marketing Keys, a boutique media management firm in the heart of downtown Chicago.