So, do you, do you trust me?
If not, why not? I said ‘trust me’, isn’t that enough?
Would you trust me more if you knew me? Would you trust me more if we’d done business together in the past? What if I helped you buy your first car or your first house? Would you trust me then?
Or were you prepared to trust me until you saw that little asterisk?
It’s amazing that in the whole world of marketing and advertising nothing else quite says ‘serious strings attached’ like an asterisk.
You see it everywhere and we accept it everywhere, all the time, but an asterisk next to the company’s offering instantly changes the perception the public has about that product or service. An asterisk can be one of the most corrosive things to a brand.
But surely companies from all industries could be a little more honest and open? Isn’t that what consumers want?
In previous lives I’ve done marketing for products and services that needed some serious disclosure but where possible we always tried to avoid that corrosive asterisk. And often you can get around it, but often with many products I see an asterisk being used because the aesthetics of the campaign material may be slightly disrupted.
It’s been my experience and that of my marketing colleagues that when we’re working for companies that have products that don’t require an asterisk, or when the products do have regulatory stipulations about making people aware of terms and conditions we avoid where possible using an asterisk and using phrases like ‘terms and conditions apply’ etc instead. Consumers of those brands have a much closer brand affinity and are much happier in their purchasing and they generally, but not always, are more happy to spread word of mouth (old school viral to anyone whose birthing is on youtube) because they feel, to an extent that you’ve been honest with them. Similarly retention rates tend to be higher and acquisition is an easier process too.
I guess I wanted to write about this as we’re in the eye of the global financial storm. I can’t help but think that if many hundreds of brands (companies) around the world had been a little more honest in the past five year maybe the globe wouldn’t find itself in the situation we are today.
And isn’t gaining a consumers trust, not just producing a glossy veneer, one of the major points of marketing?
Loyalty only comes through trust > trust is only gained by honesty > honesty can only be built by being as open as possible. Being as open as possible means that sometimes you need to display things the way the consumer really wants them.
I think marketers, as the representors of companies, one of the front line information providers, need to take a more responsible approach in the future to regain the trust of consumers.
So, I guess the question begs: do you trust me now?