Recent reports by Jebbit and Adobe reveal that consumers are less trusting of businesses and major brands than ever, with worries about data privacy making brand marketers’ challenge especially difficult in the digital age.

Brands Are Finding It Hard To Win More Than Consumers’ Dollars

While consumers are still supporting leading brands with their shopping dollars, their hearts may not be in it. An Adobe survey revealed that 75 percent of brand executives have struggled to build and maintain trust with their customers over the past two years. It’s not that consumers suddenly had a change of heart about the brands they’ve known all their lives; it’s that they are spending more time online than ever, and they are not necessarily enjoying what they see.

While the Adobe study found that 76 percent of consumers said it was important that brands demonstrate they can see things from the consumer perspective and understand their frustrations, 40 percent of consumers, per a recent study by Jebbit, have marked an increase in irrelevant ads. Another 46 percent of consumers in the same study stated that when they encountered irrelevant ads based on their past purchase history, it lowered their trust in the advertising brand. That means brand marketers’ ability to correctly target ads and maintain transparency about how data is being used directly impacts consumer brand affinity: ad content.

Brand Marketers’ Challenge And Opportunity: Rebuilding Trust For Legacy Brands And Stoking D2C Engagement

The Jebbit study also revealed that just 35 percent of consumers trust legacy brands more than D2C, online-only brands. In fact, 22 percent trust D2C brands more, with 43 percent stating that they saw both types of merchants as equally trustworthy. That means the battle for brand trust is essentially a toss-up. Based on findings from the Adobe study, the results may be influenced heavily by the relevance of the content and ads consumers find. The Adobe study found that 72 percent of consumers saw relevant content delivered at the right time and context as a reason to trust a brand more. In addition, over one-quarter of Gen Z and Millennials consumers stated that finding correctly targeted content increased their trust significantly.

Trust Can Mean Growth—In Audience And Revenue

Does trust translate into a healthier bottom line for brands? According to Adobe, 44 percent of global consumers will spend at least $500 or more each year with the brands they trust most, and 29 percent say they will spend more than $1000/year.

With legacy brands and D2C, online-only challengers competing for consumers’ dollars amid economic uncertainty, brand marketers can’t afford a misstep with audience engagement strategy or the content they share.