Trust in the digital economy: The keys to making or breaking consumer trust | Sponsored Content

This sponsored article was contributed by Adobe.

Today’s digitally savvy consumers expect companies to step up as trust leaders in their communities, workplaces, and marketplaces. From respecting customer data to delivering valuable experiences, trust is non-negotiable and must be part of every company’s DNA.

New research by Adobe set out to unpack the factors that go into how brands build—and sometimes break—trust with their customers. We surveyed more than 12,000 global consumers and 2,000 senior executives across 15 countries between January and February 2022. While there was some variation by region and country, we found remarkable alignment among global consumers around what it takes to earn and keep their trust.

The 2022 Adobe Trust report explores areas ranging from data privacy and personalization to content and AI. It's probably no surprise that across the board, brands are facing more trust challenges. Case in point: 75% of executives say that since the pandemic began, they’ve had a harder time building and maintaining trust with their customers.

Our research also uncovered important do’s and don’ts when it comes to earning trust, as well as the benefits of getting trust right. Here are some of the report’s biggest takeaways that can help brands navigate today’s trust landscape.

Responsible use of data is the price of admission for earning customer trust.

While a multitude of factors contribute to consumer trust, “being responsible with consumers’ data” tops the list.

  • 79% of global consumers are concerned about how companies are using their data, and 34% are very concerned.
  • 73% are worried that the data brands collect will be used to help the brand, but won’t benefit them at all.
  • 81% of consumers say having choices about how companies use their data is important, with nearly half saying it’s very important.
  • Despite the importance of rigorous data practices, only 41% of executives say that having strong data privacy and governance processes is a top priority for their company.

One special area of concern is the disconnect between the value brands believe consumers are receiving in exchange for sharing their data, and how consumers feel. While 75% of executives say the benefits to customers outweigh the potential risks, less than half of consumers agree.

Customer trust is earned or broken with every experience.

Whether selling to consumers or businesses, brands must actively earn trust by providing personal and personally valuable experiences at each stage of the customer journey.

  • 76% of consumers say it’s important for brands to show empathy by demonstrating they can see things from the consumer’s perspective, understand their frustrations and know what’s really important to them.
  • 72% say relevant content delivered at the right time and place boosts their trust, and more than a quarter of Gen Z and millennials say it increases their trust “a lot.” Providing creative and interesting content is a top way brands can show empathy for customers.
  • 72% say poor personalization decreases their trust in brands, with more than one-third saying it significantly harms their trust.
  • More than half will stop purchasing from a brand that doesn’t provide personal experiences they value.

Trust and the bottom line.

While trust can be difficult to quantify, the Adobe Trust report offers strong indicators of how making or breaking trust can affect a brand’s bottom line.

  • 44% of global consumers will spend at least $500 or more each year with the brands they trust most, with nearly a third saying they will spend more than $1,000 per year.
  • Gen Z and millennials are even more likely to say they will spend more than $1,000 per year with their most trusted brands.
  • When trust is broken, more than half (55%) of consumers say they will never give the brand their business again. Gen Z is least forgiving, with 60% saying they will never purchase again following a breach of trust.

To learn more about how companies can earn trust with their customers, download the 2022 Adobe Trust report.

—Ryan Fleisch, Director, Product Marketing, Adobe