Brand experience: your secret weapon in the fight for trust

March 4, 2020 - Posted by Aesthetic

How much do you trust the brands you use every day?

Probably not all that much, if you’re like most people. The latest Edelman Trust Barometer shows that consumers are reeling from the rise of fake news, corporate scandals, privacy and data concerns and the rapid pace of innovation. The result? Just one third of us actually trust most of the brands we buy or use.

If you think this doesn’t apply to your business, look out. The results are surprisingly consistent across age, gender and income bracket.

Only 34% of people trust most of the brands they buy or use – Edelman Trust Barometer, 2019

Have a little faith in me

Trust matters to brands because relationships matter. People do business with, work with and buy from brands they trust.

In the same Edelman survey, a massive 81 per cent of consumers agreed that being able to trust a brand ‘to do what is right’ was a deciding factor in their purchase decisions.

With trust in brands at an all-time low, many business leaders are asking where it all went wrong… and how do we fix it?

Integrated marketing campaigns that work

Leading marketers understand that integrated strategies, which cleverly apply consistent messaging across all marketing channels are more powerful than a siloed approach (with different campaigns across each channel). Less known is that consumers also prefer this approach —72% of consumers favour integrated marketing campaigns.

Marc Woodland, Managing Director of Future Content, says that integrative campaign strategies are the best way to develop brand trust, reduce brand confusion, and improve the efficiency of your campaigns.

This approach can also make marketing spend more efficient and increase ROI, which will be good news for the 39% of marketers who state that proving marketing ROI is their top marketing challenge.

Marketing teams strike gold when the strategy is right, the campaign speaks perfectly to the target audience, and an integrated approach is carefully executed —when it all comes together the effects of those campaigns can continue to ripple for years, sometimes becoming a part of a brand’s story. The following two case studies celebrate integrated campaigns, which included experiential in their strategies, and made history!

Hello, brand experience

The field of brand experience is proving to be a secret weapon in the battle to win (or win back) consumer trust.

When we refer to brand experience, we mean, “the seamless integration of all the touchpoints your consumers have with your brand.” That includes interactions with your staff, attendance at events, live experiences and any online or offline opportunity the consumer has to engage with your brand. It’s this totality of brand experience that builds a sense of connection, affiliation and trust between you and your audience.

Read more about brand experience here and here.

When you look at the nation’s most trusted brands, they have almost always thought through their brand experience in its entirety, and done one, or all, of the following things.

Take a stand

In a world that’s over-saturated with information, consumers feel more vulnerable than ever. They crave genuine connection, honest behaviour, and, frankly, leadership from brands.

Consumers increasingly view their purchases as a legitimate and powerful way to make a difference on the social issues they care about – education, environment, human rights, social injustice and more.

Aligning your brand with a relevant social issue and embedding those values throughout your organisation, so they become an integral part of your brand experience, is a sure-fire way to build trust in your brand.

McDonald's Sweden Bee Hotels
The McHive


A targeted brand activation is the perfect opportunity to highlight your values and connect with consumers on a personal level around your social mission. You could even use your brand activation to help consumers contribute to solving the social issue in question. There are countless examples, from McDonalds setting up ‘bee hotels’ behind it’s billboards in Sweden, to Ikea launching two large boats into the Thames to help clear plastic from the river, which coincided with the launch of its sustainable Greenwich store.

53% of consumers agree that every brand has a responsibility to get involved in at least one social issue that does not directly impact its business Edelman Trust Barometer, 2019

Be authentic

Like any good relationship, being authentic and honest in your interactions with customers is essential to building trust.

That means acting in a way that supports what you say as a brand. It’s no good if you claim to be family friendly, and the brand experience is anything but.

Research by KPMG shows that integrity is one of the strongest drivers of Net Promoter Score (NPS), “indicating that brands that authentically connect and build trust with the wider community they operate in typically outperform other brands”.

86% of people say authenticity is important when deciding what brands to support – 2017 Consumer Content Report

Connect your employees with your brand

One of the best ways to demonstrate your authenticity as a brand is through your employees.

When your employees feel a sense of engagement and connection with your brand, it shines through in all of their interactions with customers. These interactions in turn make your customers feel appreciated and build a stronger sentimental connection with your brand.

As the world’s most trusted brands know, employee engagement and brand love doesn’t happen on its own. A program of internal training and staff engagement is key to developing a healthy team dynamic, which flows through to consistently authentic and positive brand experiences that build trust.

At Aesthetic, we run workshops using the globally recognised DiSC framework, which helps facilitate better team interactions; as well as presentation coaching, feedback and difficult conversation training and storytelling tools to improve employee sentiment and commitment to your brand.

Do it in person

There’s no better way to be genuine, authentic and share your values with customers than through a live experience.

Live brand experiences are shown to build trust and connections with customers more quickly than advertising ever will. By making consumers co-creators in the experience, rather than passive observers, you invite their trust.

Designing an immersive, memorable live experience is a great way to start building trust with your audience. To be truly effective, ensure you have a solid strategic framework in place that underpins your brand experience and makes the other elements of your campaign work harder.

By drawing on your existing brand and consumer data, we can develop a personalised and effective live brand experience that builds trust with your consumers. It’s all about taking a clever idea and anchoring it with facts.

What’s next?

Brand experience is a strategy that can help you build, or rebuild, trust in your business.

At Aesthetic, we design clever, memorable brand experiences that build trust and generate meaningful connections with your customers. Could your brand experience do with a fresh approach?

Let’s talk.


Follow our Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn for our latest projects, research and content.