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Brand Trust - How Important is the Source?

December 20, 2011

How important is brand trust? Undoubtedly, brand trust is the single, most sought-after objective of every marketing strategy. Brand trust equals brand equity, which turns into amazing profit for any given company. But how does brand trust work? Martin Lindstrom, one of TIME Magazine’s “World’s 100 Most Influential People” took an interesting look into brand trust and product endorsement.

Trust Research

In 2010, two Harvard professors conducted some research into brand trust and the power of advertisements.


By placing the same ad in the respected Economist and perhaps the less respected Huffington Post, they discovered that the more respected the publication, the more people would trust and recall the ad. (


Our levels of trust in an advertisement or marketing ploy have very much to do with the source of that ad. As shown, an ad in the Economist resonates more favorably with readers than an ad in the Huffington Post simply due to the amount of brand trust that readers and target audience members have with the Economist.


This research is vital to understanding how and why big brands chose specific magazines, newspapers, websites and television shows to advertise with. Sure, selecting mediums that cater to your target audience is one thing, but selecting those mediums based on their own brand equity is also incredibly important.


Product Endorsements

We all know how important celebrity produce endorsements can be to product sales, but what about simply word-of-mouth endorsements from friends of family. Research has shown that consumers are more likely to purchase a product if their Facebook and Twitter friends recommend it:


For moderate users of social networks with average connections (40%), purchases are influenced by social network interaction, boosting vendor sales for this group by 5%.


But how does this translate into changing behaviors? Lindstrom conducted some research of his own, where he placed a well respected and trusted Californian family in charge of spreading brand awareness for a specific product.


One of the most fascinating things that emerged from the Brandwashed experiment was the importance of how the message was transmitted--the words used, the tone of voice adopted, the inflection and enthusiasm conveyed. When these behavioral components come together in the right measure, sales are likely to soar. (


When the audience trusts the source, combined with the source using the right methods to convey the brand message, Lindstrom found that not only did sales soar, behaviors began to change. The chosen family was asked to change their recycling habits and to live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. According to the research, close to 31% of the thousands of people affected by the experimental family changed their recycling and conserving habits as well, simply based on the influence of a trusted source.


Deep trust is communicated subconsciously. It's rarely expressed explicitly, nor is imparted loudly or didactically. To trust deeply not only can change our minds, but it has the power to alter our most ingrained behaviors.


Brand trust is essential in creating a successful and long-lasting business. How is your brand trust? Let us help you!