Digital Truth: how brands can become beacons of trust.

Natalia Bochenska, Senior Strategic Marketing Manager in London, UK
05 June 2020

Consumer trust in all organisations is waning. A recent global study by Edelman found that only one-third of people trust most of the brands they use, a number that’s dropping to just 25% for markets like France and Germany. 

This degradation of trust affects all organisations – no matter how long they’ve been around. We're facing a world of uncertainty, and it’s a big problem for both consumers and brands. We’re being inundated with fake information, malicious activities, and an appalling lack of transparency. In the age of the Internet, sharing information on a global scale became as easy as clicking a few buttons. But, with the lack of proper authentication methods, it’s difficult to establish what’s the truth and what isn’t. 

It’s not just about fake information though, or technologies such as ‘deepfakes’ that have brought digital trust to the forefront of media attention. It’s the behaviour many brands have practised over the years, with little repercussions (aside from a few famous lawsuits against big tech firms like Google or Facebook). Tracking users’ mobile location, tracking their online activity, listening to their voice recordings, or collecting and sharing personal data without real consent, often hiding behind 90-page-long Terms & Conditions that – let’s be honest – no one ever reads. 

Whether done deliberately or not, actions like this have led consumers to question the relationships they have with brands – and refocus on engaging solely with brands they can trust and rely on, particularly in the current environment of COVID-19. With a number of new solutions coming into the marketplace to help battle the impact of coronavirus, trust is going to play a crucial role in increasing the uptake among consumers and professionals – and ultimately overcoming the crisis. Many wonder, however, whether the previous malevolent practices shown by some of the tech giants could block the adoption of solutions such as ‘track and trace’ apps. Stories like this one aren’t helping either, because if you can’t trust the platform to work on its launch day, how can you trust it to deliver? 

Building trust with transparency

In a recent Deloitte survey, nine out of ten Americans stated business transparency is more important today than ever before. Transparency and digital truth are key to build trust and develop solid relationships with customers, bringing a plethora of benefits and clear value to the organisation. 

It’s time to understand that consumers are not just faceless end-users, but people with real needs, problems and demands. People that also have limited time and energy to interact with products that are difficult to understand or brands that are not truthful and transparent, especially when things go wrong. Being able to trust brands matters to consumers more than ever and is a crucial factor affecting their purchase behaviour. Our previous white paper on Trust & Data Acquisition found that trust is now more important than perceived customer value or incentives a company might give them. What’s more, we found that people would rather be explicitly told their personal data is being sold to third parties, than have it hidden in the fine print. 

Launching our newest Somo Sessions podcast: our look at Digital Truth

In a world of mistrust, consumers will move to brands that act as beacons of trust.

– Ross Sleight, Somo’s Chief Strategy Officer

So, why should brands care about Digital Truth? And what are the key principles of building trustworthy relationships with customers?

In our previous episode of Digital Trends podcast series, we chatted with Jocelyn Bull – Somo’s SVP of Digital Culture and Engagement – about Digital Wellbeing and why brands should start building products with people’s wellbeing in mind. 

This time, it’s time to look at Digital Truth. In this newest episode, we’re talking to our CSO Ross Sleight about the importance of Digital Truth and why transparency and building trustworthy relationships can ultimately be as important as the product itself. We discuss:

  • What’s Digital Truth? What does it mean to customers and brands? How do we measure it?

  • What's the role of technology in building Digital Truth and how can digital help in developing trustworthy relationships with customers? 

  • How can businesses build trust in the age of uncertainty?

If you’re interested to learn more about our Digital Trends predictions, download our 2020 Digital Trends report, available to read here.  

If you enjoy our podcast series, subscribe to Somo Sessions on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Soundcloud and be the first one to know when we launch our next episode.