Women Say Social Media is the Key to Brand Trust and Customer Loyalty

Last year, ICLP released a study that said only 14 percent of U.S. consumers are devoted to their favorite brands, meaning that 86 percent are inclined to “cheat” by engaging and shopping with competitors.

That trust factor is a the core of customer loyalty, especially among women, according to a new study from Womenkind and SheSpeaks. More than 2,100 women were surveyed and more than 80 percent claim to distrust the news media, citing “inadequate fact checking” and “political bias" as the primary causes. When asked about their trust in advertising, the response was similarly distrustful: 80 percent of women say they don’t trust ads.

Persistent negativity in politics and the media is creating a loss of faith among consumers,” said Kristi Faulkner, president of Womenkind. “Brand messages are viewed through a skeptic’s lens and brands have to work harder than ever to be perceived favorably.”

The main reason brands are not trustworthy, according to 61 percent of women surveyed, is that they don’t live up to the promises they make. Women, however, are convinced that social media is the great equalizer: 88 percent of women believe that companies can’t get away with as much as they would like to these days because of it.  

“The ability to go public immediately with a bad customer service or product experience gives women a powerful sense of reassurance that brands will act in good faith because they will be called out if they don’t,” said Janie Curtis, strategic director at Womenkind.

Nearly 80 percent of women say that the demonstrated commitment to doing the right thing drives a brand’s trustworthiness.

The survey also revealed that women are not likely to trust a company or brand just because of its longevity. Whereas 44 percent of women surveyed said that they were more likely to trust companies that had been around a long time, 71 percent said that the use of quality ingredients and the production of quality products lead to greater trust levels.

“Our study’s findings are good news for young or emerging brands who have quality products to offer female shoppers,” said Aliza Freud, CEO of SheSpeaks. “Women are much more likely to purchase a brand that is transparent with product ingredients vs. one that has just been around for a long time.”

Women also say trust matters to them more than it does to men, and only 1 percent believes that it matters to men more.

Women offered five ways companies can increase the trust women have in their brands. Not surprisingly, at the top of that list is to stay true to their promises and prove themselves worthy of a woman’s trust. Providing good customer service, using quality ingredients, treating employees well, and transparency were the others.   
The Women & Trust Survey was fielded online Feb. 1-3, 2017, with a nationally represented sample. 

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