When writing various case studies or blog content for our website, a common theme that keeps coming up is the importance of evoking a sense of trust through various marketing efforts. For us at Robert Lowdon Photography, we deliver this for our clients through storytelling in photography. But I wanted to explore more about why building consumer trust is important for companies and how brands achieve this (outside of photography). Once we discuss building consumer trust as a whole, we’ll share how we achieve this through the photography services we provide and share a sampling of photos we believe best visually represent this theme.
Why Building Consumer Trust is Important
The success of any business relies on the trustworthiness it possesses. It takes years to build and seconds to break. Trust building is crucial to brand loyalty, which translates to repeat business. It’s more financially viable to retain a customer than to attract a new one, studies show that acquiring a new customer can cost 5-7 times more than retaining a current customer. Moreover, loyal customers are 50% more likely to purchase a new product, which impacts the bottom line. In today’s highly competitive business environment, building a good brand reputation is critical and the key to being successful is to establish trust with consumers.
If the lower cost of retaining customers and the increased likelihood of them buying more products isn’t enough, additional studies show that a small increase of 5% in customer retention can translate to a profit increase between 25%-95%, depending on the market.
Meaning building consumer trust is a foundational pillar for the success of any business at any stage and an integral part of their business model.
How to Build Consumer Trust
To help understand how to build trust, we asked eight industry leaders and marketing professionals to share their key strategies. From adopting transparency in business practices to implementing product testing, these experts provide a wealth of insights. We took it one step further and broke their responses down into three categories; company values, communications, and goods & services. Let’s dive in below:
Company values are the bedrock upon which a brand is built, and they play a pivotal role in evoking customer trust. When a brand’s actions align with its stated values, it conveys authenticity and sincerity, leading consumers to place trust in the brand. A few ways our experts believe in building consumer trust is through transparency, long-term guarantees, and authenticity.
Adopt Transparency in Business Practices
In an era where consumers are increasingly savvy and expect authenticity from brands, being open about your business practices, sourcing, pricing, and even admitting when mistakes are made can significantly enhance trust.
One way this has been applied in a marketing agency is by maintaining clear and honest communication with clients. Work processes are shared, regular updates are provided, and any challenges encountered are openly discussed. This transparency builds a trusting relationship and makes clients feel included and valued.
Transparency should extend to a brand’s interactions with the broader public as well. This could mean openly sharing a brand’s environmental impact, treatment of employees, or supply chain details. This kind of openness may be daunting, but in the long run, it pays off in customer loyalty and brand reputation.
Offer Long-Term Guarantees
As the founder of Vetted, a recruiting firm serving growth-stage tech companies in Greater Boston and beyond, one way we have built consumer trust is through long-term guarantees: a job isn’t complete unless the client is satisfied for life.
For starters, we check back a few weeks after a project’s completion. This is a chance to rectify any dissatisfaction early and sets the groundwork for a long-term relationship.
We continue checking in regularly for as long as necessary—sometimes indefinitely. In recruiting, long-term retention rates are a strong metric, and monitoring them well into the future shows we care.
Take ownership of your work for life, and you’ll set yourself apart from brands eager to wrap up a contract once the check is cashed.
Prioritize Authenticity in Branding
Building trust in a brand is like gaining a loyal pet dragon—it takes time, but it’s oh-so worth it! Data-backed wisdom shows that authenticity is the secret sauce. A survey revealed that a whopping 91% of consumers crave honesty from their beloved brands. So, be real, be true, and let your brand’s soul shine through. Like a magical spell, authenticity will weave a loyal fan base that roars with delight!
Effective and open communication is integral in relationship building, resulting in establishing consumer trust. The way a company interacts with its customers can significantly influence their perception and trust in the brand. A few ways our expert commenters believe consumer trust can be built via communications is through sharing company successes, responding genuinely to feedback, and with human interactions & live support.
Showcase Success Stories and Results
Building trust revolves around the power of success stories. By showcasing the real-life experiences and outcomes of our clients, we forge an authentic connection with our audience. Transparency in highlighting challenges faced, solutions provided, and tangible results achieved creates credibility and shows that we deliver on our promises.
To bolster trust further, we use snapshots of analytics to showcase our clients’ performance. Data-driven evidence reinforces the positive impact we’ve had on their businesses, instilling confidence in the reliability and effectiveness of our services.
Sharing success stories with supported analytics empowers our audience to make informed decisions and solidifies our position as a trustworthy and results-driven brand, setting us apart in a competitive insurance marketing industry.
Respond Genuinely to Negative Feedback
Responding to negative comments or reviews can build consumer trust. It may take a lot of positive comments or reviews for people to believe that a brand is trustworthy and reputable, but it can take just a single negative one to diminish or tarnish all of that.
So, the best thing you can do for your brand to minimize the negative impact of those comments is to respond to them publicly. You want to keep it short and genuine, demonstrating that you don’t want any customers to have a negative experience with your products or services and that you would like to remedy the situation.
While this, of course, can help the commenter have a better opinion of you, it can also help to build trust with all the other potential customers who are reading through your comments and reviews, because they can see that you really value your customers.
Maintain Human Interaction and Live Support
There has been a global shift from phone support to chat, and then to chatbots. While it’s true that this automation saves money, it can erode the trust we’ve built with our customers.
When facing a problem, our clients appreciate a timely, human response rather than a generic answer from a bot. This has led us to maintain live phone support, a decision that has resonated deeply with our consumers.
I strongly advocate for this strategy to any company keen on fostering trust—because trust, once lost, is hard to rebuild. It’s a lesson we’ve learned and a principle we’ve lived by.
Goods & Services
High-quality goods and services are a cornerstone of consumer trust. When a company consistently delivers products or services that meet or exceed customer expectations, it fosters a sense of reliability. Customers can trust that each time they engage with the company, they will receive something of value. This consistency in quality also reflects well on the company’s attention to detail and commitment to excellence, further strengthening consumer trust. Our experts discuss the importance of delivering consistent & high-quality services, as well as conducting thorough product testing as a strategy to boost consumer trust.
Deliver Consistent, High-Quality Services
In the design world, consumer trust hinges on delivering high quality work. Each project we work on showcases our creative flair and precision, which ultimately boosts confidence in our studio. This trust grows over time, forging strong client connections and a solid industry reputation.
In a field where looks are everything, a track record of excellence is the key to winning and keeping that trust.
Conduct Thorough Product Testing
Regardless of how exceptional your mission statement and brand values may be, a product that cannot deliver a satisfying experience will significantly diminish consumer trust going forward.
To mitigate this risk, it is crucial to conduct thorough testing of your product from the outset. You should actively engage with your existing customers to gather feedback and comprehend their experiences, evaluating the overall user experience.
Our Approach to Building Consumer Trust through Photography
At Robert Lowdon Photography, we are commissioned by clients to not only capture images, but capture images that support pillars of their brand. As mentioned previously, building trust is an integral part of any business, making it imperative that the photography we deliver evokes an emotional response, specifically trust. We approach each project with this in mind, creating images that convey a strong message and tell a story.
Whether it’s a portrait of a corporate executive with professionalism, or lifestyle photography showcasing a product’s use in real-life settings, our goal is to create imagery that conveys trustworthiness while fostering a connection between the brand and its consumers.
A few key ways that we plan photoshoots is through the creative process, which includes a deep dive to expand our knowledge and understanding of the company, as well as focusing on authenticity and being adaptable and open to new ideas or inspiration on set.
Our creative process is meticulously designed to plan images that evoke trust. It begins with a comprehensive brainstorming session with our team and the client, discussing the brand’s objectives, values, and target audience. We put ourselves in the shoes of the consumers and envision what visual elements would build trust for them.
Each project requires a different level of planning, but if we’re taking on the project management aspect, we’ll scout and pitch locations, hire talent that fits the specific role, and present different scenarios. We’ll usually put all of this information in a document, providing a visual tool helps everyone involved align their ideas and expectations.
During the planning process, we are constantly revisiting the brand’s core values to ensure authenticity.
Our approach to photography centres on authenticity and artistry. We strive to capture the underlying ‘souls’ of our client’s businesses, creating an honest story that resonates with their mission statement and core values. Through this method, we create photos that evoke emotion, humanize the brand, and accentuate its trustworthiness.
The entire process is geared towards producing images that are not just aesthetically pleasing, but also embody the trustworthiness of the brand, thereby fostering a deeper connection with the consumers
We recently wrote an article about Authenticity, The Power of Visual Story Telling for Businesses. In this article we share why authenticity is important for website & marketing images, what specifically tells you if an image is authentic or not, and how businesses use storytelling.
When we talk about authenticity, we are also talking about trust. The two terms really go hand in hand. As noted in our article, the overwhelming consensus is clear: authenticity breeds trust. Consumers are increasingly attuned to the authenticity of a brand’s message, and it is the brands that uphold honesty and authenticity through their actions, communications, and offerings that succeed in the long run.
All of the preplanning and brainstorming of ideas for the shoot are integral pieces of what makes a photoshoot successful, however, I would argue that being adaptable on site is what sets us apart. A photoshoot is a dynamic environment, and being adaptable on set is fundamental to capturing compelling and authentic images. Unexpected situations often arise – equipment may malfunction, priorities may change. In these instances, our ability to adapt quickly can turn potential setbacks into unique opportunities for creativity.
Adaptability also extends to our interaction with clients and subjects. We understand that each person we photograph brings their own personality and comfort levels to the shoot. By being flexible and patient, we’re able to establish a relaxed environment that encourages individuals to express themselves naturally. This results in images that truly represent the subject, enhancing the authenticity and, consequently, the trustworthiness of the brand we’re working with.
Adaptability in a photoshoot is all about embracing unpredictability and turning challenges into creative opportunities. It’s a skill that sets us apart and enables us to deliver imagery that resonates with audiences, fosters trust, and bolsters the brand’s identity.
Our Approach to Building Consumer Trust as a Business
At Robert Lowdon Photography, building consumer trust is at the heart of our business. We believe trust is not something that is given, but rather earned through consistent performance, exceptional customer service, and relationship building.
We achieve this by being transparent about our process and pricing, and by treating every client with respect and dignity. From our initial conversation to the final delivery of the product, our clients can expect full disclosure and clarity.
In addition, we understand the importance of delivering on our promises. We believe that by consistently delivering high-quality results that exceed our clients’ expectations, we strengthen the trust they have in us and our abilities. Our commitment to quality is unwavering, and we continually strive to improve our services.
Moreover, we realize that building trust takes time. Therefore, we focus on establishing long-term relationships with our clients built with mutual respect. A few ways we achieve this is through our business practices and our commitment to open communication.
Case studies play a crucial role in our marketing efforts. They offer an in-depth perspective of our past projects, allowing potential clients to understand our working style, quality of work, and the results we deliver. By presenting real-life examples of our process and outcomes, we not only demonstrate our competence but also showcase the value we bring to each project.
Case studies serve as proof of our commitment to excellence and reinforce the trust our clients place in us. They also provide an agenda for discussion with potential clients, helping them visualize what we can achieve together.
A few ways we build trust through our company values is with a satisfaction guarantee, a weather guarantee, and delivering on time, every time. This commitment to our values has assisted us in building strong, long-lasting relationships with our clients, and continues to earn us their trust.
With our satisfaction guarantee, if our client is not satisfied with the quality of our work, we will reshoot it at no additional fee. Resulting in a no risk scenario for clients to move forward with us. We’ll get it right and ensure the delivery of a high-quality product, making us a great and reliable partner for their projects.
We also offer a weather guarantee, since weather conditions are our of everyone’s control. To ensure our clients don’t have to worry about the conditions to move forward with booking us, we will reschedule at no additional cost.
Finally, we pride ourselves on delivering images on time, every time. We understand that our clients are excited to receive their galleries right way. That’s why we share our delivery schedule multiple times throughout the process. We share it when booking, when planning, and after the shoot is complete. That way expectations are clearly set and our clients aren’t left wondering when they will receive the images.
Transparency through Project Management
Our newest service, Project Management, aims to provide our clients with transparency. Through detailed production schedules, setting deadlines for client decisions, following through on our own deadlines, setting reminders, and following up, we’ve developed a streamlined process and service that creates a foundation of trust between us and our clients.
When everyone knows the expectations, everyone is happy and the likelihood of our clients booking with us again increases due to the seamless process the first time around.
Sharing company successes
Sharing success stories about customer satisfaction can resonate on a personal level, as potential customers can visualize themselves in these scenarios. We often share testimonials from thrilled clients who have seen the impact of their marketing collateral after using our services. This form of social proof is a powerful tool in building consumer trust, as it provides real-world evidence of our promise to deliver quality services.
We’ll share their success stories in our proposals, on our website and social media channels.
Answering customer emails and inquiries promptly is another critical aspect of building consumer trust. In the digital age, customers expect quick and efficient responses. This involves not just acknowledging their queries but providing substantial, well-thought-out answers addressing their concerns.
We always answer emails within 24 hours. Sometime we might not have an answer to our client’s question yet, but the acknowledgement that the email has been received and we are working on a response helps build the relationship and sense of reliability.
Proactive Problem Solving
We strive to stay one step ahead of issues and anticipate potential problems. We actively seek feedback from our clients at every stage of a project, thus ensuring that we can act quickly when needed.
We work with a company that designs pop-up displays for luxury brands, for the purpose of promoting a certain product during a short timeframe. Sometimes when we arrive onsite a piece of the display may not match the rendering, or may be damaged. In the few instances this has happened, we take photos of any discrepancy and send it to our client to ensure they are aware of it right away. Allowing them to try to rectify the situation in the moment or let us know if we need to return another time.
Photography is a large investment and we want the images we submit to be usable. By being proactive, we can identify challenges and collaborate on solutions with our clients. Resulting in a long-term partnership where our clients know we share their goals.
It’s clear that our industry professionals felt that building consumer trust is an important piece, if not the most important piece, or any business. Their responses focused on themes like; authenticity, transparency, communications, consistency, and quality. They also offered some great real life examples of how they successfully build trust in their business.
After reviewing their responses it was a great exercise for us to review how we build consumer trust is our own business. Not only through how we approach it from a photography perspective, but also from a customer service perspective. While our case studies are used as a marketing strategy, it was interesting to examine that the underlying result of sharing them is to build credibility, which essentially means building trust. So many aspects of business relate back to this one single word.
Through staggering statistics on the importance of repeat business when it comes to the bottom line, it’s evident that trust is the foundation of any successful business. We hope these key strategies and professional insights helped shed some light on this robust topic!
If you would like to chat more about authentic imagery that evokes trust, feel free to reach out! We’d love to discuss your project, ideals and goals, as well as how we can help achieve them.