In B2B, trust is everything. Whether it’s a multi-million dollar corporation trying to score a new contract or a startup trying to attract investors, it takes a great amount of trust for B2B transactions to occur. While tried-and true-marketing tactics can be a piece of the puzzle, building trust goes far beyond running ads and emailing leads. The public reaction to how governments and corporations have handled Covid, political instability, misinformation, income inequality, and other social issues have put trust at an all-time low.
With trust so central to brand growth and overall business success, business leaders need concrete strategies to incorporate qualities like safety, security, and consistency into their identities. The 2022 B2B Trusted Brands Report shows that the most trusted brands are all technology-focused, but that doesn’t mean other types of businesses can’t take note. No matter the industry, brand trust is critical to achieving sustainable growth in B2B.
Let’s look at five ways B2B companies can build brand trust.
What is brand trust? Brand trust measures the confidence your customers and partners have in your business. Brand trust starts internally by developing honest mission statements, visions, and value propositions. Increasingly, it’s clear in B2B that the leaders who actively foster a positive brand image and promote those values within their companies bring validity to the brand and consistently build trust.
Why is brand trust so important? Simply put, the more brand trust you can generate among your audience, the more confident they’ll be in starting or continuing a business relationship, even when you may not be the market leader in other aspects like pricing, speed, or availability. Brand trust holds untold value, and losing it can be catastrophic to the longevity of any organization.
How B2B Companies Can Build Brand Trust
- Be honest and transparent
- Create an emotional connection
- Strive to educate instead of sell
- Showcase clear values
- Provide original content
1. Be honest and transparent
Honesty and transparency are essential to maintaining brand trust. This means providing clear information to customers and clients about account situations and product and service details to understand your company’s actions better. Transparency into your corporate and leadership level through social media, blogs, press releases, and other formats can help solidify your integrity and go a long way in strengthening trust.
Transparency into the goings-on of your business’s day-to-day operations also helps give customers and partners insight into your company culture, making them feel more engaged with the people behind your products and services, developing a personal connection, and building trust.
2. Create an emotional connection
Following along with transparency and honesty is building trust by creating emotional connections that demonstrate that you understand where your audience is coming from, what they need, and what their customers need. Buyers are bombarded with pitches, ads, emails, and calls every week. A great way to demonstrate your intent and build trust is by showing empathy with your audience, that you care about their problems, and have solutions that put their interests first. Forming emotional connections comes from being relatable and demonstrating how your solutions impact users at a personal level. B2B transactions often put a buyer’s entire reputation on the line, and trust is essential in gaining their business and maintaining that relationship.
3. Don’t sell, educate
Unlike B2C, B2B businesses often provide solutions rather than a specific product or service. When you’re talking about improving efficiency, output, and productivity, through behind-the-scenes systems and services, they can be challenging to sell. Demonstrating a return on investment, however, months or years down the road is less tangible and trustworthy than seeing a product’s immediate results before your eyes. Fortunately, B2B sales cycles can be on the slow side, giving you ample opportunity to offer an educational experience that paints a picture of potential without being pushy.
Never forget that even when you’re selling to a business, you’re ultimately selling to a person. Providing potential buyers with tangible value through your content and online presence builds long-term trust that helps transform them into qualified leads and, eventually, sales.
4. Showcase clear values
Traditionally, B2B brands have stayed mostly silent on cultural and societal issues out of fear of backlash or being ostracized. But increasingly, taking a stance on big issues can be a very straightforward opportunity to demonstrate your values and build trust. It’s important to strongly consider which specific issues to address, which to avoid, and to address the critical ones in a way that reflects your company values. When your business functions in a way that reflects your values, employees and customers can better understand your vision and trust that you align on their concerns and priorities before they even consider working with or for you, leading to stronger partnerships.
Your transparency with employees and prospects extends to your values and building trust through shared principles. Showcase how you’re addressing these issues in a positive way, and educate the industry on why your vision is beneficial.
5. Provide original content
Original research and thoughtful content are the bread-and-butter of the most successful B2B brands in their quest to build trust. Collecting your own data and developing robust content pieces to share key insights adds significant of value to your brand and builds confidence among readers. With original content and original research, you demonstrate to your audience that you’re actively considering what’s most important to them and committed to finding the best solutions. That level of consideration also helps further tie the emotional and educational aspects of brand trust into each aspect of your efforts.
B2B marketing content should always be positioned to serve a specific point in the buyer’s journey, rather than simply selling a specific product or service. Building trust through content creation means focusing on new ideas, how you’re different, and how your solution is good for the industry.
Start Building Brand Trust
While the 2022 Trusted Brands Report shows that consumers cite technology companies as their most trusted B2B brands, the five tactics discussed here are applicable to every industry. Download the report and explore the methodology behind the Trusted Brands survey, how the Trust Factor gets calculated, breakdowns of trusted B2B brands by industry, and key lessons in building trust that go beyond what we’ve covered here. Want to learn more about building brand trust? Talk to one of our experts today.