Trust = Use

Ever wondered how to build consumer loyalty?

At the Web Summit I heard Chris Satchell, the Consumer Technology Officer at Nike (I don’t know who thinks of these names).

His talk stood out to me. What he had to say was important for any business that is trying to build brand awareness and relationship with the consumer.

His idea was very simple:

Trust = Use

So what’s that all about?

Consumers need to trust before they buy. We need to know that our hard earned money will be well used by the company we interact with. That’s why we are seeing more and more companies going out there doing the whole social action pitch. Telling us that by buying their products we are in some way contributing to a better world.

Toms are a perfect example, and one of the first companies I knew of that used this to help build consumer loyalty. When you buy a pair of their shoes, someone in the third world also gets a pair, for free!

It worked on me. I have a crazy amount of Toms around the house. But if I’m honest, I didn’t just buy them because I wanted to help a child in South America with sore feet, but it helped convince me that my money would be put to good use.

Anyway, back to Nike. Chris talked a great deal about the Trust = Use cycle, and that this is actually the fourth such cycle in consumer behaviour:

Access = Use
Money = Use
Time = Use
Trust = Use

It started with the social classes; “Access” is the simple idea that if you had the means to purchase a product, then you would buy it. Traditionally, only people in certain circles could buy certain products, not necessarily based on price, but more on social stature. Barack Obama gets armoured cars because he needs it, and therefore uses it. His position in society drives his demand.

Money is pretty simple to explain; If you have enough paper in your pocket then you can buy the product.

Money doesn’t rely on social standing, and can be saved by anyone. This is usually a hobby or emotional purchase, I remember saving all my money for 6 months just so I could buy the PS3 as soon as it came out, even though it was ridiculously priced, having the product I wanted justified my purchase.

Next was time; Consumers using a broad range of products and accessing them as quickly as possible. If I had a choice between a smart phone with all its apps and extras, or a Nokia 3210, I know which one I’d buy… Consumer behaviour demanded a quality product quickly, or else the threat of moving on to the next product that would serve their needs in the time they wanted.

Finally we find Trust.

Consumers have decided that time isn’t actually money, but attention is. 

We are in a new era of brand loyalty, where consumer centricity is now the key to capturing your audience. Giving your customer the mic and letting them grab some of the spotlight is now beginning to break into mainstream marketing. Where every transaction builds trust, and a story between the consumer and your brand builds over time. 

Making your consumer feel valued and important is just the beginning of the brand trust you need to be successful. 

We are in a cycle where seeking the consumer has been replaced with serving the consumer. 

Make sure you are meeting your consumer first, and delivering a service that earns your customers respect and trust without compromising quality, security or reliability is paramount.

Brands are no longer about the business story, but the consumers.

How do you value your customers trust?

Is building a personal relationship really that important to brand development?