Clear Channel and JC Decaux: quality trumps price and social responsibility in fight for consumer trust.

Out of home giants Clear Channel and JC Decaux have surveyed 1,000 UK consumers to find out why they value brands, in particular what creates trust.

The consumer confidence survey reveals that the top three brand qualities to build trust with UK consumers are product quality (76%), value for price (72%) and transparency (62%). Whilst eco-friendly practices ride high on the national agenda, social responsibility (56.39%) and environmental sustainability (56.27%) sit further down the list at 10 and 11 respectively.

Top 15 brand qualities

1. Product quality – 76%

2. Value for price – 72%

3. Transparency – 61%

4. Fair pricing – 61%

5. No hidden costs – 60%

6. Innovation – 60%

7. Authenticity – 59%

8. Confidentiality – 57%

9. Consistency – 56%

10. Social responsibility – 56%

11. Environmental sustainability – 56%

12. Open communication – 56%

13. Ethical – 55%

14. Robust customer service – 51%

15. Enjoyable customer experience – 51%

The findings come as consumer confidence has slumped to its lowest point since 2008. Only 34% of consumers say they trust the brands they use, despite 36% saying they are more likely to engage with brands they trust. 81% of consumers said trust is a deciding factor in their buying decision.

Across several sectors, the survey showed a clear correlation between trust and level of consumer engagement – with significant uplift in engagement when the brand was deemed trustworthy. Consumers are 30% more likely to engage with luxury goods and automotive brands they trust, and 24% more likely when it comes to travel brands.

The research also underlines that brands need to consider their advertising spend, and think carefully about how they use influencers and messaging to deliver the best results with consumers:

The death of the influencer – 60% of Brits say they are more likely to trust a brand if it is recommended by a friend or family, while just one in five say the same for those used by influencers/public figures.

The return of the big screens – TV, Out of Home and cinema top league for media most effective at changing minds, while one in three say they trust out of home (OOH).

The study – from two major OOH companies it should be noted – revealed that OOH was most effective at driving perceptions linked strongly to trust issues such as honesty, reliability, and safety.

It also demonstrated that OOH is considered a generally ethical medium. The survey found that consumers deemed OOH to be the least likely to manipulate people’s opinions, with 9 in 10 agreeing it is not suspicious or intrusive.

Clear Channel UK joint MD Richard Bon says: “It is clear that trust is important in any good relationship, and the brand-consumer relationship is no exception. With most of the western world having spent much of the last twelve months in lockdown, consumers have been bombarded with a seemingly endless stream of news, messaging and advertising, and the need for reliable and trustworthy sources of information is increasingly important. With such volumes of content, it can be hard for consumers and brands alike to understand what works best and what to trust.

“As we hopefully emerge from the lockdown period, we are now adjusting to new consumer journeys and new media touchpoints, and the findings of this study should help brands to explore how they can engage with and form long-lasting relationships with their customers. The reality is that most of the big changes the industry is facing were already coming before the pandemic – this period has simply catalysed companies to make changes more quickly, and it has made consumers adopt new behaviours too.”

JCD UK chief commercial officer Mark Bucknell says: “This important ‘The Moment for Trust’ research shows that four fifths of the public say that trust in the brand influences their purchase choice and that the public trusts Out-of-Home. As we’ve seen in Justin Gibbons’ recent ‘P² + C = 5’ report, trust has risen to the top of the priority list for communities, media and brands and Out-of-Home can play a powerful part in in building trust for marketers, in particular for campaigns that combine the public screen with the private screen of Online.”

PensionBee CMO Jasper Martens says: “Brand trust is today’s most important consumer relationship, especially when it comes to a financial product like a pension. It not only convinces customers to sign up or buy a product, but it is also the key ingredient to brand retention.

“These findings clearly show that certain marketing channels, such as OOH, lend themselves better to build trust because consumers see it as brands making a public commitment. It creates brand fame and familiarity – once you’ve seen us on a billboard or TV screen, you’re more likely to click on a targeted social media ad from us and move all your pensions across. That’s why at Pension Bee, we’re increasingly optimising our marketing campaigns by including a mixture of public and private media, with channels like OOH used to build trust, broaden who we reach, and ultimately, help accelerate our customer growth.”

More details are available here.

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