Tough times increasing consumers’ desire for reliable, trustworthy companies

74% say communicating honestly and transparently is more important now than pre-pandemic.

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Ultimately, what all companies sell is trust and tumultuous times make earning and keeping that trust the most important thing a business can do. 

This can be seen in a recent Salesforce report which found:

  • 88% of customers say trust is more important in times of change.
  • 74% of customers say communicating honestly and transparently is more important now than before the pandemic.

How to earn it. The report, which surveyed over 13,000 consumers and nearly 4,000 business buyers across 29 countries, laid out what organizational actions build trust. Honest and transparent communication topped the list, followed by responsible use of customer data, treating customers as people – not as numbers, and resolving issues and communicating proactively.

Business gets the benefit of the doubt. The good news for marketers is that people favor businesses over most other institutions. The Salesforce survey found 52% of customers say they generally trust companies – up from 48% in 2020. Further, 68% of customers now trust organizations to tell the truth – up from 59% two years ago. Trends like this are a positive sign businesses are moving in the right direction.

Salesforce Trust Improving
From Salesforce’s State of the Connected Consumer, 5th ed.
Used with permission.

This is in line with what other global surveys report. An Edelman survey of 28 nations found 61% of people trust business, that’s 9% more than trust the government. (In the US, it depends on the size of the business. Small business has the highest rating of any major institution – with 70% saying they trust it “quite a lot”; for big business only 18% say they do, according to a Gallup poll.)

Dig deeper: Public wants to know where brands stand on issues, surveys show

Why we care. While people may think marketing is handled by a particular department (yours), it is actually the sum total of all the company’s behaviors. Consumers want to trust the companies they buy from. It is up to marketing to make the rest of the organization understand they are also responsible for earning or losing that trust. It’s up to martech in particular to be gathering the data to show what the business is doing right and what it needs to do better.


About the author

Constantine von Hoffman
Constantine von Hoffman is managing editor of MarTech. A veteran journalist, Con has covered business, finance, marketing and tech for, Brandweek, CMO, and Inc. He has been city editor of the Boston Herald, news producer at NPR, and has written for Harvard Business Review, Boston Magazine, Sierra, and many other publications. He has also been a professional stand-up comedian, given talks at anime and gaming conventions on everything from My Neighbor Totoro to the history of dice and boardgames, and is author of the magical realist novel John Henry the Revelator. He lives in Boston with his wife, Jennifer, and either too many or too few dogs.

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