German customers want to have brand trust
Consumers’ need for trust and security grew even stronger after the crisis. However, manufacturing companies do not achieve brand success simply by gaining sympathy for their brands. At the GfK conference in 2011 it became all too clear that the benefits of brands have to match the values recognized by buyers in order to build trust and create a basis for a strong relationship. In some industries, trust plays a particularly important role.
“Building trust is a long process, destroying it is quick,” warned Peter Zühlsdorff, President of the GfK Verein. The basis for lasting brand success is that a brand succeeds in building a close relationship with as many consumers as possible. According to Dr. Oliver Hupp, Division Manager Brands and Communication Research at GfK, regardless of the industry, brands will only be able to build strong relationships with many consumers if they are experienced as likeable and trustworthy at the same time. “Sympathy is enough for a short adventure, but without building trust, it won’t turn into a solid and lasting brand relationship,” said Hupp and advised brand managers to take more conscious account of building brand trust in the future.
A new research approach for assessing brand trust makes it possible to identify different relationships that consumers enter into with brands, depending on the industry. Consumers could associate a car brand with an unpleasant acquaintance, with an occasional acquaintance, with a close admired partner or with a long-term friendship. The reason why people trust airlines like Lufthansa and financial service providers like Sparkasse is because the brands are perceived as “highly reliable” and “customer-oriented”. Ultimately, the success of a product or service depends on how many consumers develop a good relationship with it. In the case of consumer goods for daily use or fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs), Hupp pointed out that trust can be effectively strengthened through the product, but also through trustworthy sales channels. Communicative measures
on the other hand had a stronger influence on sympathy.
On the basis of a GfK study in seven European core countries, Karsten John showed in front of around 500 marketing experts that customer confidence in banks and insurance companies is still at a very low level two years after the financial crisis. “The crisis of confidence is not over, on the contrary, trust in institutions and banks has never been as low as it is today,” emphasized the Division Manager of GfK Financial Market Research. Confidence has fallen particularly sharply in countries such as Spain or Great Britain, where the economic consequences of the financial crisis are personally noticeable for many people. In contrast, Sweden and France have come through the financial crisis quite stable, which means that ties to local banks and insurance companies are still high and trust can also be rated significantly higher.
In Germany, the situation is special in that confidence in banks is still at a very low level, although the economic situation is good. “Since the collapse of the New Economy ten years ago, after various pension and health reforms and the loss of many personal contacts with financial service providers, people have been unsettled. That was compounded by the financial crisis in 2009, ”said John. According to their own assessment, customers would go to financial service providers more critically and at a distance, and increasingly focus on quality
Value customer service and look for security. The starting points for regaining people’s trust are honest and credible communication, the establishment and expansion of fair and sustainable customer relationships, a transparent range of “honest” products and services and a clear positioning of your own brand. The crisis of confidence also offers a great opportunity to reposition yourself as a financial service provider and to say: “We have learned from the crisis and are now doing a lot better.” For future marketing, it is important in all industries to identify and identify dominant forms of relationships with target groups Uncover weaknesses in the brand’s network of relationships.