How Trust (And Lack of It) Shapes Today’s Market

Something about the entire office-based workforce working in their pajamas from their living rooms made us all a little more authentic.

That was a positive of the pandemic. We all let our guards down a bit and started to become a little more human with one another as we faced massive stressors.

But another unfortunate result has been an overall erosion of trust. We lost our trust in our systems, our institutions, and each other.

And as commerce moved almost exclusively to low-contact and digital, that same lack of trust translates to lack of trust in those collecting data on the web.   That includes advertisers, marketers, and more.

Trust can be defined as:

  • assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something
  • one in which confidence is placed
  • dependence on something future or contingent
  • reliance on future payment for property (such as merchandise) delivered
  • a charge or duty imposed in faith or confidence or as a condition of some relationship

In all these definitions, you see those varying ways that trust exists between two parties. Maybe that’s why 87% of marketers agree their brand needed to change its marketing strategy in order to better build consumer trust last year.

I watched a TED talk about trust. I recommend watching it.



Video: How to Build and Rebuild Trust

To sum up this talk, the speaker outlines three key dynamics of trust:

  • If you sense I’m being authentic
  • If you sense I have rigor in my logic
  • If you believe my empathy is towards you

This is a pretty high bar for trust, but it is the truth when you look at your relationships. Not just in one-to-one human relationships, but also with the brands you’re personally most loyal to.

What are some ways trust manifests between individual and brand?

Supporting a Cause

Like I mentioned in my article about Pride and Cause Marketing, if your brand links itself with a cause, it needs to be actually helpful to the cause its supporting. Consumers are less satisfied by the faux-allyship or purely “awareness” based support.

Put your cause marketing through the same rigorous standard structured above:

  • Does your brand do what it says it does? Are it’s brand values aligned with the causes you support?
  • Is your money and business model aligned with the causes you support? Does your product do what it says it does?
  • Do you feel that the people behind the brand really care?

Data Exchange

Data is the most important commodity in the world today and as a collective we are seeing shifts in who can and will collect and protect data.

Data breaches are common and databases with massively sensitive information are typically the targets. When it comes to data collection, you have to prove that the risk of giving up that data is worth the value being input by the user.

What do the three requirements for trust look like in the information exchange associated with data?

  • Does your brand say what it does with individual’s data? Where does it get the data from? Is your brand doing something with individual’s data that they wouldn’t sign up for?
  • Does the information exchanged equal the value offered by the brand?
  • Does it feel like your brand cares about protecting individual’s data?

Company Communications

If someone opens your email, that means they trusted your brand enough to do so. Or they accidentally clicked your email.

Anyways, when an individual interacts with your brand’s messaging, that is an indicator of some trust. Here how the 3 components of trust apply in company communications.

  • Does your brand send out useful messaging? Is it timely? Relevant? Does the quality of the content live up to the risk of engaging with it?
  • Does 2+2 = 4? Can your readers trust that you are using real statistics to draw your conclusions? Are your claims backed by something other than your word? Does your content feel organized and make sense?
  • Does the brand messaging communicate that the individual’s problem is valid and offer solutions to help? Does it feel like the brand is just pushing to make money or actually make the individual’s experience better?

To trust means feeling comfortable taking a small risk, which is each of the dynamics we’ve outlined in today’s post. Does your brand create a space where individuals feel like they can interact with your brand and get the need they have met? Or does it feel like they’ll click on your post and a sales rep will begin relentlessly calling them?

Create trust by holding your brand to these standards:

  • Authenticity
  • Rigor of logic
  • Empathy

And see where that leads your business as a result.


Let us know what you think:

  • What does authenticity look like in B2B?
  • How can your brand show up as empathetic in your market?
  • Is your brand presenting itself logically? What about those you buy from? 



Leave a comment

Privacy Preferences
When you visit our website, it may store information through your browser from specific services, usually in form of cookies. Here you can change your privacy preferences. Please note that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on our website and the services we offer.