Two new studies show the importance, and fragility, of consumer trust in brand advertising

Posted by Jeremy Spitzberg • Mar 31, 2020 1:01:09 PM

Two new studies show how fragile consumer trust in brands actually is, only highlighting the need for a brand safe advertising strategy.

GroupM's Consumer Trust In Digital Marketing, "based on a survey of 14,000 consumers in 23 countries", is chock-full of relevant brand safety concerns. According to MediaPost:

  • 64% would have a negative opinion of a brand with messaging next to inappropriate content.
  • More than one-third of consumers (37%) feel digital ads are too intrusive.

It's interesting to consider that before, we would have focused on the "64% would have a negative opinion" part of above takeaway. However, today, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the increasing awareness of "suitability" as a lodestar for brands, it's the "inappropriate content" concept that feels unexplored. Defining appropriate for your brand is the going to be the hardest, and most important consideration for your brands.

Further, MediaPost reports that:

The research found that top consumer concerns include fake news on social media, cyberbullying and online predators.

Three-quarters of respondents believe that it is a digital platform’s responsibility to stop inappropriate content from appearing. And marketers need to take proactive steps to ensure they’re setting parameters around ad placements that build marketing effectiveness and protect brand value.

These are consistent with our findings last year, that consumers hold brands responsible for the context in which their ads appear.

Another, just completed study from Edelman, emphasizes the power, and responsibility that consumers entrust to brands.

Brands can build a new level of connection with consumers or lose the relationship forever. Sixty-five percent of respondents said that a brand’s response in the crisis will have a huge impact on their likelihood of purchasing it in the future. Sixty percent said that they are turning to brands that they absolutely can trust... By contrast, there is great risk to brands that are perceived to be acting unsympathetically. One-third of respondents have already convinced other people to stop using a brand that was not acting appropriately (China 76 percent; India 60 percent).

All this reinforces our belief that brand safety is table stakes for everyone involved in marketing and digital advertising. We have built a system that asks for consumer trust, and consumers are giving it to us. That comes with the downside risk that when violated, that trust is hard, if not impossible to win back. A brand reputation crisis is avoidable, however. With proper planning, oversight, and knowledgeable Brand Safety Officers at the table, there are huge rewards to a proper brand strategy. Especially in these unprecedented times. 

Topics: Brand Safety, Brand Safety Officers, Consumer Experience, Year of the Consumer, Brand Suitability