Confidence in one’s own brand, an authentic appearance and credibility towards the target group: three goals that every brand pursues. Three goals, but at the same time by the crisis of confidence about fake news, data scandals and headlines on Google, Amazon. Facebook and Co. are not necessarily easier to reach.
More than a light breeze: The omnipresent crisis of confidence
44 points on a 100-point scale: This is the current level of trust Germans have in government, the economy, in NGOs and the media, as the Edelman Trust Barometer 2019 shows. A stand that is worrying and can be greatly expanded. This is particularly evident in a more detailed look at the public’s confidence in the various media offerings. Only 32 percent consider the social media to be trustworthy (Edelman Trust Barometer 2019). Facebook and Co. are thus far behind classic media, search engines and owned media.
In order to win back trust in these stormy times, companies must also commit themselves to socio-political issues. Especially because they are at the top of the trust among all institutions and, from the point of view of the population, have what it takes to navigate above all the social media out of the crisis of confidence. According to Trust Barometer Special Report Social Media 2018, 68 percent of Germans state that companies have to put pressure on social platforms for more data security.
Do not set all sails, or: Much does not always help a lot
In order for companies to be able to redeem trust as the ultimate currency, they must set course for and tackle the crisis of confidence. Because instead of demanding trust from their own target group, companies have to earn it – currently more than ever before. However, authentic brand positioning alone is not enough. The recipe for success: A user-centered marketing approach. The motto must be: Much does not always help a lot. It depends on a goal-oriented course.
Companies should pay particular attention to the following four points when staging brands and products while effectively telling stories while protecting their reputation:
1. show flag!
Companies have to take a stand on socially relevant events – which can also have a positive effect on the behavior of the target group: more than half (54 percent) of German consumers say that they select, swap, and avoid brands based on their position on social issues or even boycott, as the Edelman Earned Brand Study 2018 shows.
2. Responsible data management
Communication must be done in a responsible manner. For example, if advertising is played alongside hate speech or violent content, it can only be negative for brand trust. Securing social media accounts, careful third-party collaboration, and keyword targeting are essential for responsible and effective communication.
3. Communicate credibly
Knowing a company’s target audience, their needs and their behavior in social media in detail contributes to building a positive brand reputation. The more authentic brands appear to the outside and the more targeted they send their messages, the more credible they are perceived by consumers – and that can also sustainably strengthen trust in a brand.
4. Use performance marketing for reputation protection
In addition to the development and dissemination of their own messages, it is the essential task of a brand to protect itself. And not only in a crisis situation, but also in advance. The magic word for crises is: holistic communication strategy – in offline and online media. However, where organic communication channels reach their limits relatively quickly, companies should think about the use of paid media.
The format variety of paid placements not only gives brands and companies a broad range of coverage, but above all a very selective focus on their topics: targeted targeting of messages based on various criteria such as geography, time of day, keywords, socio-demographics or interests allow an exact and controlled targeting of the target group , Paid activities also help companies in the aftermath. Because a crisis is never completely finished, especially not on social media!
Put on communication with draft
Whether the storm of confidence will soon abate is unpredictable. However, this should not be a reason for companies and their brands to stay safe and sound. Rather, brands need to pick up speed and navigate safely through the turbulent times. As a compass for society, they must show a clear flag. Fact is: communication with draft counts.
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Felix Müller is Head of Digital Consulting at Edelman Germany and responsible for the strategic and operational activation of digital communication.