Marketers have done a great job in encouraging a wary public to embrace brands again, but now it’s on marketers to make sure their use of consumer data doesn’t sabotage those good vibes.

With millions of Americans expressing low confidence in everything from the economy to the FDA, it is surprising that a slim majority of consumers—52%—now trust the brands they buy from, up from 48% in 2020, according to Salesforce. Even more surprising, the same study states that 77% of consumers believe that most brands make honest claims about their goods and services, and 75% care about their customers’ best interests. Both numbers show a respectable boost over 2020 levels (68% and 65%, respectively). While that sounds great for marketers, the win really isn’t really that linear. 

Consumers trust “good” brands – and good behavior means ethical data use

The ground rules for winning consumer trust have changed: Consumer trust is not based on successful marketing campaigns alone but on how well those claims align with brand behavior – out in the world behind the scenes when marketers handle consumer data. The Salesforce report found that 66% of consumers had stopped purchasing from a brand when they discovered it did not align with their values. While consumers are more comfortable than ever before with brands using their data (62% reported this), they value transparency in how their data is handled. In a 2021 study by KPMG, 86% of consumers surveyed were concerned about how companies were using their data – and that concern would likely increase over time, with 78% stating specific concern over the volume of data being collected about them.

According to Jebbit’s 6th Consumer Data Trust Index (CDTI), to be released on Thursday, the way brand and online platform marketers collect and use data significantly impacts brand perception. Nearly half of consumers surveyed stated that irrelevant ads that targeted them based on past purchase data decreased their brand trust, while 49% said that companies that requested consent for emails and posted notices asking for permission to place cookies increased their trust. A recent Google study underscores Jebbits’ findings: 65% of consumers have had a negative experience with an irrelevant ad, and 74% want only ads targeted to their current needs. 

The Takeaway:

Brand trust is high and the good vibes about trustworthy companies should be encouraging to marketers. Yet that trust is fragile: Consumers associate the entire marketing campaign—from the claims made in the copy to how ads are targeted—with the brand. That means responsible marketing and good data hygiene are paramount, not just for campaign success but for brands seeking to keep consumers engaged (and non-compliance issues at bay).