Written by

Candace Gerlach


16th January 2023



‘Build it and they will come’.

If only it was that easy when building a brand.

Trust is the backbone of building a sustainable brand, especially when it links so clearly to its impact on customer loyalty. 

Take the mobile network GiffGaff for example, who recently ran a campaign highlighting fixed UK prices until the end of 2023. It’s a clever example of a brand understanding the need to build trust and loyalty in a year that’s looking to be very unpredictable. 

So, why is building trust and customer loyalty so important in turbulent times? Firstly, we need to break down what brand trust is, how this feeds directly into customer loyalty and why this can help you stand the test of time.

What is brand trust?

Brand trust can be defined by the level of confidence people have in a brand to deliver on its promises. 

There are multiple factors that feed into people’s overall perception of a brand’s trustworthiness. These include, but aren’t limited to:

– Individual expectations

– Perception of product/service quality

– Consistency of experience a customer has with a brand

– Reviews and brand associations (how people perceive a brand, from what they have seen or heard about it before)

– Brand authenticity

– Cost vs quality ratio 

As with any relationship, we all make assumptions and assessments on a conscious and subconscious level of how trustworthy we feel a brand is, based on a number of different feelings. 

Brand trust is the foundation of brand loyalty.

Whereas brand trust can be a preconceived notion, brand loyalty is the long-term benefit of gaining and maintaining trust.

Although this has always been the case, recent research shows brand loyalty is becoming more important and extending beyond a purely transactional experience.

Now there is more and more emphasis, especially from younger audiences, on building an emotional connection with the brands they choose to support. Authenticity and social causes are a large factor in building a level of trust between a consumer and a brand, impacting directly on the loyalty they have for it. As this relationship has a deeper emotional connection between the customer and brand, if the trust is lost, the long-term loyalty gain has been lost too. 

Why is brand trust and brand loyalty so important?

In a recent Edelman survey, 88% of respondents said that trust was an important factor in buying decisions. 

This alone shows how powerful trust is during the decision-making process. For new customers, the buying decision can involve taking a leap of faith when choosing a brand, influenced by the factors we’ve seen above that help to build trust – such as what they have previously seen or heard about a brand. 

This first experience also influences their perception of trust during future buying decisions. And, as we know, fostering this trust and ensuring that the experiences people have with a brand are positive helps to build loyalty. 

In turn, the loyalty that a brand gains with its customers mean it will benefit from higher customer retention levels. Because satisfied customers will keep returning, so long as that trust is maintained. 

Retaining customers is also more cost-effective than acquiring new ones. With loyal customers likely to spend more and recommend your brand to friends and family, it’s clear to see the importance of trust on a transactional basis.

However, from a social perspective, it is possibly even more important. A brand that loses the trust of its customers can easily find itself quickly losing its reputation, accelerated by social proof and social media. Younger generations especially are happy to vote with their feet. As well as stepping away from brands that lose their trust, they actively voice their support for brands that align with their own values and beliefs.

Why it’s especially important during turbulent times.

As the Giffgaff example shows, there are many unpredictable and uncertain things happening in the world at the moment and brands that acknowledge this and support their customers through it, are the ones that will gain from it. 

With Edelman’s 2022 Trust Barometer already stating that consumer trust is at an all-time low, thanks in part to the pandemic, and distrust in the government and the media, people will turn to brands they see as authentic and trustworthy. 

And with less disposable income, people face a hard choice in their buying decisions. Their trust in a brand can make a difference in whether they remain loyal to them, or seek an alternative. 

As Giffgaff has done, there are ways in which you can help make the buying decision easier for your customers. By fixing their prices for a year, Giffgaff customers can trust that they won’t have to pay more money halfway through the year. 

Ways to build brand trust and loyalty.

To understand how you can build brand trust and loyalty, you first need to understand where you are currently, what your goals are and how you are going to measure and monitor this. This can be hard to do but a good place to start is by listening to your customers, reading reviews and gathering feedback. 

Once you have an idea of how you are going to measure brand trust, here are 3 ways that you can build it:

1. Be consistent in the way you communicate your offer and brand 

Across every customer touchpoint, every experience and interaction that your customers have with your brand should be clear, consistent and live and breathe your brand values. Talk about the benefits, not the features, of your offer. Make it clear that you’re the brand for THEM. This will create consistency, help build an emotional connection with your audience and ensure your brand is seen as authentic. 

2. Invest in customer relationships

Your customers are the people that represent your brand. If you invest time in them, they will invest time in you. From taking the time to have face-to-face conversations with them, to offering loyalty incentives, there are hundreds of ways in which you can build up long-term relationships with your customers. 

3. Create social proof

With a couple of clicks, anyone with access to the internet can find out about your brand, so use this to your advantage by ensuring that what they see is positive. From encouraging customers to leave reviews, interacting with them on social media and utilising customer testimonials, there are a number of ways to ensure that your customers and future customers have a positive perception of your brand. As Jeff Bezos once said – ‘Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.’ 

Lots of the clients we work with think they are too small to be a brand or that they don’t want to be a brand – they just want to do business. But the truth is, your brand is the thing that attracts people. It’s the look, feel and voice of your business. It’s the story you’re telling. It’s the most valuable tool in your business toolbox!

So, if you think your brand could do with some direction when it comes to building your marketing strategy to enhance brand trust and loyalty, get in touch with us today.