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Adobe survey reveals link between brand trust and consumer buy-in

By Catherine Knowles
Wed 22 Jun 2022

Adobe has announced results from a study of more than 1,000 Australian consumers and 200 senior business leaders, which finds a strong correlation between brand trust and consumer behaviour.

Among Australian consumers, 54% say they will stop purchasing from brands that break their trust, while a majority (72%) plan to spend at least $700 more each year with trusted brands compared to the global average of 60%.

When asked whether they consider digital or in-person experiences to be more important in driving trust, only 16% of Australian consumers favoured digital experiences, compared to more than a third of APAC consumers (35%). This compares to 32% who say that in person experiences are more important as trust enablers, and 48% that say that both are equally important.

Adobe president Simon Tate says, “The importance of digital experiences to a trust exchange has come into sharper focus, and the stakes are high. Done right, many consumers will reward brands with loyalty and spend. When trust is broken, most consumers will walk away permanently.”

Despite the importance of building trust with consumers, the senior business leaders interviewed by Adobe suggest that earning trust is increasingly tricky, with eight in ten (81%) saying that it has become harder since the onset of the pandemic.

Tate says, “Australian consumers' experiences over the past two years and rise of the digital economy are combining to shift the fundamental drivers of brand trust. More than ever, trust relies on brands' ability to make a positive impact, use data responsibly and deliver digital experiences on customers' terms."

Thomas Barta, co-author of path-breaking leadership book The 12 Powers of a Marketing Leader and a foremost thinker on the subject of marketing leadership, says Australian businesses are facing a dual challenge.

Barta says, “Customers enjoy a personalised experience but worry about sharing their data. Better personalisation and privacy may sound like competing targets but it doesn't have to be that way. As Adobe's latest research reveals, leading marketers are already providing highly personalised customer experiences, while using customer data responsibly.”

He says, "When it comes to data privacy, the top spot for a company doing it exceptionally well, is still up for grabs. To get there, customers don't ask for too much. 83% of Australian consumers simply want to decide how firms used their data. 86% desire more transparency, and 63% asked that firms use their data only for what really matters: making the customer experience better."

On bridging the data trust gap, brand's use of personal data is a key driver of mistrust among Australian consumers.

The research reveals that 74% are concerned with how their data is being used and 50% of consumers believe the benefits of providing their data to companies are greater than the risks.

The majority of consumers also say they'll stop purchasing from brands if they experience data governance failures. This includes 70% who would stop purchasing from a company that used their data without permission and 66% who would do the same if they experienced a data breach.

Despite this clear message from consumers, 94% of Australian leaders believe consumers trust them to keep their data safe and use it responsibly, and 79% say the benefits customers receive from companies collecting their data outweigh the risks.

Technology also plays a significant role in engendering trust. Australian consumers outline a number of factors that can both increase and decrease their trust in brands and enhance the digital experience, with technology playing a prominent role.

Half surveyed say their trust in brands increases when technology is used to personalise their experience. However, 76% say poor personalisation erodes trust, with top examples including contacting me in a creepy way and ignoring their preferences.

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