It’s been a pretty wild ride. The last year has brought us all more challenges than we could have imagined. No news there. But underlying the pandemic and the socio-political unrest lies a deeper problem that had been forming long before the events of the last year. Put simply, we don’t know what (or who) to believe anymore. And all of the ways we have learned to forge and foster trust have been turned upside down.

In fact, trust among people around the world is at an all-time low. In 2020 the trust of institutions (governments, NGOs and media) dipped below that of businesses in 18 of 27 of the most developed economies for the first time in modern history. That means that outside of a serious need to address systemic issues related to misinformation and inequality, that businesses are taking a larger role in forming bonds with people around the world.

Right now, businesses across industries bear more responsibility to provide an experience that is authentic, consistent and trustworthy. There is a hunger for it. And there is a serious competitive advantage in providing it. That is an exciting opportunity for everyone in marketing.

So why should you care about what 90octane, a marketing agency, thinks about trust?

Let’s be honest. Trust and marketing seldom travel in the same circles. Agencies over the years have made a name for themselves by choosing opportunity over integrity at every turn. By selling over relating. By not sticking around to see what actually happens when a “big idea” hits the market.

Which is why it is a really interesting time for agencies, and for 90octane. With as much distrust that has existed in the industry combined with historic lows in trust around the world, there’s an opportunity for brands to become more trusted with their customers, with digital as the primary means of forming those bonds.

Trust is cyclical, and measurement is critical.

Marketing is about what brands SAY in relation to what people THINK. But trust is built by what people DO – plain and simple. And digital marketing has changed the landscape on measurement and performance. We can see if trust is forming over time with audiences, outside of the usual sales metrics we’re looking to achieve. Attribution of not only interest, but behavior, is no longer a pipe dream.

With that kind of behavioral data now at our fingertips, it can be tempting to manipulate variables to get a better immediate return. But that leads down a path focused on a single transaction rather than a long-term relationship. Therein lies the challenge – to be able to balance the short-term goals of MQLs and SQLs while also deepening trust in your brand. There are no divisions between campaigns, brands and customer experiences anymore. It’s all one effort with distinct aspects. And to do it well it takes an eye on short-term metrics and a head for long-term interpretation.

More than a new look
For all of these reasons, we’ve changed our own brand. Our logo nods to the cyclical nature of trust building – it’s never done and will always be in a state of change. Our website better reflects that perspective too, and how we’re building campaigns designed to build trust with customers. But more than that, we’re seeing the current state of the world as an opportunity to change marketing for the better. To take a ‘low-trust’ industry and make it what it should be –the primary means of communicating value to customers and a critical touchpoint to a stellar customer experience.

Check out our site to see what we’re up to. And stay tuned for more perspectives on trust in marketing from 90 over the next year.

“Marketing is about what brands SAY in relation to what people THINK. But trust is built by what people DO – plain and simple. ”