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You Ask, I Answer: Measuring Brand Trust?

Stephanie asks, “When it comes to building trust, how do we know what success looks like? How can we measure it?”

Trust is a tricky thing to measure because it’s such a core of emotion. If you examine emotional theory, especially things like Plutchik’s wheel of emotions, trust is a fundamental survival emotion. How do you measure a survival emotion?

  • Consider surveying – do you trust this brand, do you see it as a friend, do you feel this brand directly supports you and the things you believe in, will this brand do right by you if something goes wrong?
  • Examine branded organic search for the bigram frequencies around your brand – trusting words versus disgust words, which are the antithesis of trust

  • Look at social interactions – if something negative about your brand comes up, who supports you and how quickly

  • Perform sentiment analysis on interactions with the brand, especially customer service interactions

You Ask, I Answer: Measuring Brand Trust?

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In today’s episode, Stephanie asks, When it comes to building trust, how do we know what success looks like? How can we measure it? Well, trust it, trust is a tricky thing to measure, because it’s such a fundamental core emotion.

If you look back at psychology, and how different frameworks have come up to even understand the emotions, there are all these different models that you can use to try and figure out, like, what even an emotion is, and how it relates to important things like say survival.

Trust is one of those fundamental things.

So this is a model here, this is Robert politics, wheel emotions, you can see that in that first, concentric ring trust is on there, it’s a no six expressed by admiration, it’s opposed by disgust.

And fundamentally, trust is one of those things is like, how do you how do you explain it? In that same thesis, he proposed that each of these core emotions has a basic survival advantage, right.

disgust is something that happens when we ingest something that doesn’t taste good, and we spit it out, we believe, because we perceive it as poisonous, right? And trust is the opposite of that we see somebody who’s a member of our group, a member of our tribe, they’re our friend.

And so our our action is literally to defend that person to recruit them for mutual support to help us survive.

When you consider that that particular survivalist instinct, how does that play out when it comes to something like a brand? Oh, think about what you would expect someone to be able to say about a brand they trust.

And the gold standard here for figuring this out for measuring this will be serving, asking people at all different stages of the customer experience.

So surveying for at the awareness stage, for trust based questions, consideration, purchase, loyalty, evangelism at all, throughout the customer experience cycle, asking people questions, like, Do you trust this brand? Do you see it as as a friend as friendly to you? Do you believe that the brand will do right by you if something goes wrong? Right? Do you believe that the brand supports you and the things that you believe in? Do you believe that there’s a mutual support relationship? in place, there are some brands where people feel based on their interactions with the brand, though Yes, this brand will support me and this brand has supported me.

And that can be anywhere from things like donating to specific causes, to just having working customer service, right, having a customer service department that will not make you feel like an idiot.

All those would be things that you’d want to surface within serving, and that is still the gold standard for understanding how people feel about a brand.

There are other things that you can do that, I would say you treat as secondary data sources, because again, the gold standard is still serving is just asking people how they feel around those trust based questions or, again, the polar opposite.

On that we’ll have emotions, asking people about disgust based questions, things that interactions they’ve had that were negative, how many of them have they had because as everybody knows, it really only takes one screw up for a brand to to completely ruin the relationship you have with that one bad judgment call.

I was talking with my business partner and co founder Katie robear, about one technology brand that at a conference hired an absolutely awful speaker, just terrible judgment call.

And that has forever corrupted her feelings about that brand that brand has no chance to ever impress to work past that without like serious substantial personal interaction.

And that’s a big part of this equation as well is in trust, because we are taking the action of friending somebody right of bringing them into our group of asking them for mutual support.

It’s not something that the brand can do easily at scale, but is absolutely something that occurs at one to one interactions with the brand.

So if you are spending a million dollars on this branding campaign, but you’re still paying a minimum wage or less to yours customer support team and they deliver an abuse of experience.

You’re achieving no ground, right because that one to one interaction is how this survival instinct works.

Now there are other things that you can use to measure this.

So you could examine for example, branded search for by Graham frequencies to word combinations around your brand, if the number of people searching for you know your company name and scam or socks, or whatever comes up a lot, guess what, you’ve got a problem, right? You have a substantial problem, particularly if it’s around.

Again, customer support issues.

Looking at trust words, looking at discussed words, what are the how often those do those co occur in branded organic search, assuming someone’s searching for your brand at all, looking at social interactions, particularly social media, if something negative about your brand comes up, who supports you and how quickly right now, this isn’t not something I get this is good secondary research, because you don’t want to create a negative event just to see who pops out of the woodwork, that’s not a good idea.

But if it’s happening anyway, use the data.

And most importantly, be performing sentiment analysis on interactions with your brand, especially again, customer service interactions, you should be minding your customer service inbox, and looking at, again, trust words and disgust words.

The frequencies of each the the valence or intensity of each.

In every single email you get in every phone call, you get near Customer Service Center and every interactive chat log be scoring those intakes.

And asking people those the questions if you can, if not just be doing the sentiment analysis, the natural language processing on those interactions, to understand how much trust or disgust is there in every single interaction.

That is actually something that would fairly closely resemble in NPS score in some ways, and just having a composite number, and tracking it over time, how much how much of our communications had an overall valence of trust, particularly if you’re able, if you have the technology to break an interaction into thirds, and then measure the trust in the in thirds of beginning, middle and end did trust go up or down in those interactions.

But fundamentally, go back to the basic surveying.

And that can be surveys with a market research firm.

It can be surveys at point of purchase or post purchase.

It can even be surveys on your website.

But be asking people consistently those questions like do you see this out? The brand as a friend does? Do you feel supported by us? What would you what would make you feel supported by us? What would increase your trust in us that we would do the right thing by all those questions, workout with your your marketing team workout with us.

You’re someone on staff who has psychology experience, to better understand how to phrase those questions to get the answers you want.

Hire a good market research firm.

But that’s how you measure, measure.

And then, as with all measures, you’re looking for more of what you want and less of what you don’t want.

So again, going back to Dr.

Politics real we’ll have emotions.

You want more trust, you want less disgust.

The same is true for all the emotions on there.

You want more joy and less, you know, anger and sadness.

Pretty straightforward stuff.

Be careful with emotion analysis.

be thorough, and especially be looking for bias when you’re asking these questions because it’s super easy to go wrong on those fronts.

And again, you should have somebody with psychology experience working with you to tune those things and some good market research experience to tune those things with you.

Make sure you’re asking fair, balanced, unbiased questions that will give you accurate diagnostics.

Really good question a lot to dig into here.

You got follow up questions, leave them in the comments box below.

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