Reversing a decline in public trust

The Drum 26 Jul 2021 01:11
By Julie Reid - July 26, 2021

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A brand without trust is simply a product and advertising without trust is just noise.

That’s what Advertising Association (AA) president Keith Weed told the attendees of Ad Week New York in 2019 as the AA launched their 2019 report on ‘arresting the decline of public trust in UK advertising’.

The survey behind the report found that while people in the UK believe that advertising has an essential role to play, they also find it annoying and even misleading at times.

People spoke of adverts following them around the internet, of inflated product claims, of brands hiding behind complicated T&Cs and of concerns around the damage that ads-that-don’t-look-like-ads can have on people’s mental health.

A decline in brand value

Kantar’s latest survey found that “while the 100 biggest global brands grew in value by 5.8% in 2020, the top 75 UK brands declined by 13%”. If these trends continue, there won’t be any British brands in the top 100 by 2023.

Reversing the tide

Jane’s advice? Marketing fundamentals haven’t changed: connect on a human level and deliver value.

Be human

One is Seth Godin talking through his brilliant book This Is Marketing, which is full of commonsense guidance on how to be human and make something valuable for other humans.

But I think brands can take lessons from how we build trust in our personal relationships and apply them to connecting with their audience by:

Deliver value

Both qualitative and quantitative customer research can help you uncover the elements that are most important to your customers. This can come in handy if you have multiple customer segments that you need to position the brand to in different ways.

A clear example of this is a piece of brand work we did for Morrinson Wealth Management.

When we approached the younger demographic that had been identified as the target market, their response to the question “What do you think about your savings?” was a resounding “What savings? We can’t afford to save.”

“The research had uncovered a clear, shared anxiety that was prevalent, so instead of trying to work around this, we addressed it head on. The campaign was built around a new identity that we developed – replacing the negative perception with a positive reality – in a disruptive way that would make the target audience feel it was more specifically for them.”

In one of Tom Roach’s latest pieces, he writes of the modern marketing myopia – a focus only on today instead of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Marketing is incredibly complex and we are all trying to keep the many moving parts working in harmony. But by re-orienting around a North Star that puts humanity and value for customers at the center of the activity, we’ll have a better chance of delivering better solutions and strengthening our brands.

Julie Reid, head of strategy at Hallam.

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UKKeith WeedAAJane BloomfieldKantar UK
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