This is a guest blog written by Reena Mishra, Senior Partner Sales Executive, Microsoft Search Advertising
In the current climate, customers believe that brands they choose to engage with must reflect their values. It is the responsibility of brands to think of a larger purpose, which adds priceless value to the consumer. In today’s world, interaction with the customer might lead to a purchase but it isn’t sufficient enough to turn that one-time purchaser into a loyal consumer.
By being transparent about your values and practices as a brand you can create true value for your customer. Customers expect brands to focus on inclusive marketing that reflects a genuine, accessible, and authentic brand voice. Building trust is a collective effort between a brand and its customers. Marketers that focus on trust during these uncertain times will foster a community that will build the foundation of a sustainable brand.
Purpose-driven marketing inspires and instills trust. The team at Microsoft Advertising undertook a research study to uncover the drivers of trust with consumers and its impact across multiple verticals. Additionally, we had the opportunity to interact with marketers and agencies about the importance of trust holds in a brand-consumer relationship.
Trust means different things to different people. For marketers, upholding trust means taking the necessary steps to protect people’s privacy, being ethical and responsible, and ensuring your products do what you say they will do. For consumers, building trust in these ways is critical, but it does not end there. Customers expect connections at a deeper level. Hence, marketers must understand that trust goes beyond just protecting customer data and respecting their privacy.
In our survey, 85% of people said they’ll only consider a brand if they trust it. Once you’re in the consideration set, trust is how you can build greater brand love and loyalty that creates higher lifetime value. There’s a 76% correlation between trust and brand love — as trust increases, it impacts peoples’ love for a brand.
Marketers fail to create a sustained relationship when they don’t understand their customers’ values. They fall back on transactional outcomes which will only last as long as a comparable product comes along with better pricing. To beat the transactional or conversion-based marketing, and ingrain value-based marketing, brands must rethink ways in which they can personalize communication with consumers and share values they believe in.
To understand customers and to cater to what they need at a precise moment in the customer journey the relevance of communication is critical, and something that the customer longs for. And when relevance is associated with a bigger cause, it resonates with the needs of the consumers. When the needs are met, the consumers tend to be repeat purchasers and become brand loyal.
We’ve identified two strategies that are important to creating genuine and authentic experiences:
Personalization can be a great way to cut through the clutter, but it can be difficult to get right. Marketers must remain careful of overstepping or exerting false familiarity as it can come across as disingenuous. The focus instead should remain on being genuine and authentic. The brand should appear as familiar, responsible, and reliable. While there is no one size fits all solution, the following insights across verticals can be useful:
Trust is a ‘considerable’ factor for consumers when they choose a brand. The automobile consumers are 7x more likely to consider a trusted brand, financial services consumers 4.7x, and retail consumers 2.8x.
72% of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand that supports a good cause. Purpose-driven marketing does not just create brand loyalty among your consumers but also redefines and repositions your business as a whole. All in all, marketing with a purpose can be a great way to help your brand reach out to new stakeholders, reconnect with the current consumers and build a brand ethos that brings positive social, ecological, moral, and cultural changes to the world we are living in today.
These are values that we not only encourage advertisers to consider but espouse ourselves. For an instance in the case of an initiative with a purpose, we understandably saw a spike in search queries during the peak of the pandemic for terms such as “Sanitizers and Masks”, and Microsoft Search chose not to advertise next to these terms. This was done to ensure that any advertising did not exploit the crisis for commercial gains.
Similarly, in a time when the pandemic is forcing companies and people to re-assess themselves with relevant skill sets and match with relevant opportunities, Microsoft launched an initiative to help 25 million people to ramp up their digital skills. This is a step in a direction to fulfill Microsoft’s mission to “enable every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more”. The objective is to give people access to data on jobs, skills from the LinkedIn Economic Graph by providing free access to content in LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learn, and the GitHub Learning Lab, Microsoft Certifications, and LinkedIn job-seeking tools. What seems like a brand strategy here is associated with a bigger cause of enriching job seeker’s learning curve, during the unprecedented times.
Ultimately, brands must remember that values drive value, by building on the base of trust, brands can ensure they foster an environment of brand love and brand loyalty.
Interested in learning more about Microsoft Search Advertising? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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