The values that advertising and marketing portray have changed the way we think and feel about ourselves, our lives and what we consider important. As marketers we play with, and try our best to change, what is trusted and distrusted in order to persuade the consumer to buy from us.

The trouble is that our consumer, with greater access to information than ever before, is starting to see behind the messages, and often they don’t like what they see. They are becoming more empowered, more demanding and raising the bar. As they peer behind the messages into the companies generating them they are rapidly concluding that they can’t trust businesses, their brands, their advertising and above all their motivations.

The Result: either costs will increase as we have to try harder to persuade and reduce prices as everything commoditises and all markets become zero loyalty as consumers assume that all businesses and brands are as bad as each other.

The Challenge: to move our businesses and the brands that represent them towards a more sustainable, better model. To challenge ourselves as marketers to take on the responsibility not just for driving sales but commit ourselves and our brands to building positive social capital and through this finally regain trust.

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Fear will continue to be the dominant trend of the coming years. As we continue to deal with the fallout from the financial collapse, repay our individual and national debts and deal with the environmental consequences of an economy built on mass consumption being able to connect and deal with consumer frustrations and fears will be increasingly important.

Understanding the risks and fears that a consumer is taking and helping them deal with these realities can create deeper, more profitable relationships. But understanding risk and fear is something modern marketers don’t seem to be very good at. Lucian Camp, Chairman of the advertising group Tangible and an independent consultant looked at the communications of financial products in the 1990s recession in the UK, and compared them with those in the current economic difficulties.

He found many of the brands in the 1990s recession used the harsh realities of unemployment and economic instability to connect with their potential consumer and sell product. Fast-forward to the recession of the last few years and financial advertising has continued to be dominated by the ‘people dancing down the beach happily,’ or happy-go-lucky sort of creative. Focusing overly on the positive means that the realities of life are largely denied in marketing. The risk is that brands become even more fantastic and less about solving day-to-day issues.

Most of us have only practised our trade in good times and therefore its unsurprising that we find it difficult to connect through risk and more downbeat messages. Going back to basics and understanding the role and real consumer needs that we are targeting and getting comfortable talking about difficult, potentially fear based situations, will be a skill that we would be wise to learn.

For the complete guide on how to create trust in your businesses and brands get your copy of Why Should Anyone Buy from You? BUY NOW