Have you ever participated in a trust-fall exercise?
Whether at a corporate retreat or a leadership conference, many of us have seen and experienced that terrifying sensation of falling backward into someone’s arms. The exercise is supposed to help you build trust with your partner so that you’re confident they will, quite literally, catch you when you fall. The premise is that this translates to business, leadership, or interpersonal skills and shows you that it’s important to trust your team.
But we think that exercise is a horrible way to build trust.
Here’s why: You have absolutely no reason to believe that your partner will catch you. And, unless you’re at a corporate event for bodybuilders, chances are your workplace counterpart has yet to prove to you that they are physically able to catch the total weight of your body as you fall.
It’s more like a blind faith exercise than a trust exercise.
The unfortunate truth is that many companies don’t know how to build brand trust. They expect customers to put blind faith in them without proving why they can—and should—be trusted.
Unfortunately, in 2023, companies are working from a trust deficit.
Even if you are the leading brand in your industry, the trust deficit that began in the last five years has impacted every company and leader. This was only accelerated thanks to significant cultural shifts during the pandemic.
With the rapid acceleration of digital transformation, there are infinitely more expectations about what a brand should be and how it should act in the modern business world. Consumers expect brands to have a presence on social media, to respond to cultural issues or change, and to be transparent. These elements are essential for building trust with your customers. They are the proof in the pudding that your brand is worth partnering with.
Building trust with customers requires a multifaceted approach. You don’t have to be an old, well-known business to earn trust. You just need a strategy. Fortunately for you, we use a straightforward approach to help brands build trust. It’s called the Mixed Marketing Model.
What is the Mixed Marketing Model?
We developed the Mixed Marketing Model to help brands understand the multifaceted approach we take to building trust. Here’s how we break it down:
- Paid media includes advertisements, influencer marketing, PPC (pay-per-click) content, and more.
- Shared media is anything you share online, whether your brand’s own content or the content you re-share on your brand’s account.
- Earned media is what you would associate with typical public relations, like when your brand is mentioned in a newspaper article or featured in a magazine or digital publication.
- Owned media includes everything your company has full control over, like your website, blog, podcast, video streaming sessions, and more.
All of these marketing tactics come into play if you want to build trust with consumers.
Use influencer marketing and PR to build brand trust
To build brand trust in 2023, you must show your consumers who you are as a company. Nothing demonstrates this more effectively than social proof—in particular, a healthy combination of digital marketing, PR, and brand strategy. The best strategy for building trust this year is to combine influencer marketing and PR.
That’s right, we said influencer marketing.
Don’t get lost in the stereotypical picture of influencer marketing of well-outfitted people posing for pictures with products or conveniently placing products in their video content. This is not what we’re referring to.
You can build brand trust through B2B Influencer marketing, which helps you win trust because it shows your existing and potential customers that trustworthy people use your products or services. When combined with a PR strategy, these efforts double in effectiveness because your brand’s reach is extended.
Influencer marketing won’t look the same for B2B tech companies as it looks for consumer brands. For example, you likely won’t be asking an influencer to pose with your tech platform pulled up on their laptop (though, frankly, that wouldn’t hurt). In these more technical B2B fields, impactful influencers are the industry thought leaders who share your product or service with their community of like-minded individuals.
If you sell a tech platform, the best influencer for you may be someone who gives tech reviews and recommendations for businesses. If you are in a highly specific service niche, the best influencer for you would be someone in your unique market—perhaps a thought leader who speaks at conferences or events related to your industry—who has an audience that trusts their recommendations.
You can leverage influencer marketing to build brand trust on social media by associating your company with trusted voices in your industry or sector. Just like you’re more likely to listen to a restaurant recommendation from a trusted friend with good taste than someone you’ve never heard of, your customers are more likely to trust the recommendations of a well-known influencer than your company’s email campaign.
Now, this doesn’t mean you throw out the entire strategy—you should definitely still do that email campaign—but you should consider how the components of your strategy work together.
Related reading: The Ultimate Guide to B2B Email Marketing
Brand awareness that feels human and conveys authority
Consumers expect brands to show their human side. In 2023, this is what conveys authority to buyers.
Studies have even shown that consumers favor brands that take a stand on important issues, even further demonstrating that consumers and businesses want to work with brands that care about their overall impact on the world—it’s a human approach.
So, even in the B2B sector, you have to appeal to the humans behind the business. Working with influencers, creating social strategies that are personal and personable, and showcasing your success through strategic PR placement are all strategies that facilitate trust with business decision-makers.
And once you gain that trust—keep going. Too many marketers think building trust is a short-term goal—once you access consumer trust, you’re set and ready to go. But that’s not how it works. Trust is built over time with continued efforts to win, and keep winning, the consumer’s loyalty.
An all-encompassing B2B marketing strategy like our Mixed Marketing Model is key to success. You can build trust piece by piece with paid, earned, shared, and owned media, working in tandem to reach your target decision-makers.
Want to see how the Mixed Marketing Model can help you earn real trust (not that trust-fall type of trust)? You know who to call.