As Singaporean businesses continue to navigate restrictions caused by the circuit breaker measures, new research released today from Qualtrics outlines the biggest drivers of brand trust in this new normal, and how consumers want to be engaged with. Findings from the study provide a framework helping brands build and keep trust and confidence at this uncertain time through effective and meaningful actions.
With lockdown measures continuing to impact how brands position themselves in the market, the study revealed more than 80% of people believe it’s important for brands to take care of their employees and customers, and to not take advantage of the crisis to maximize profits.
A similar sentiment showed when respondents were asked what behaviors increase trust during the crisis. In Singapore, not taking advantage of a crisis was the top ranked attribute (42%), followed by maintaining reasonable pricing (40%) and taking care of employees (37%).
What respondents found less impactful were messages of hope and optimism (14%) or even statements about providing new products and solutions (10%).
During the COVID-19 outbreak, trust in government has improved, with 50% of Singapore respondents saying their trust in the government has increased.
“Trust has a fundamental role to play as businesses begin to reopen their doors and rebuild operations. In these uncertain times, high levels of trust mean consumers can feel confident in choosing to engage with your brand,” said Lisa Khatri, Brand Experience and Research Lead for Qualtrics in APJ. “While the operational impact of the restrictions is temporary, their influence on consumer behaviors and attitudes will be long lasting. Over the last month we have seen huge changes in the way consumers engage with brands, and these will continue to evolve each time restrictions change. For businesses to remain relevant, they need to understand how each shift impacts the drivers of brand trust, and how their actions at each stage can positively influence how the brand is viewed”, she concluded.
“The Qualtrics study revealed that brand actions in a time of crisis will have a major impact on brand trust for almost two-thirds (66%) of Singapore respondents. Brands that align behaviors by taking action on the issues consumers care most about will not only be in a better position to navigate the recovery phase, but accelerate it too,” added Khatri.
To help businesses understand the drivers of brand trust and focus actions on the most relevant actions to consumers, Qualtrics launched the free solution The COVID-19 Brand Trust Pulse. It is part of a range of free offerings launched by the experience management company over the last month, which have supported more than 31,000 projects across more than 8,500 organizations. The most recent addition to the free offerings is a Back to Business solution designed to help organizations stay connected with customers, understand their expectations and preferences, and take actions to build customer confidence as businesses reopen their doors.
For instance, when it comes to brand communications, Singaporeans are more interested in the operational impact of COVID-19 compared to sales and promotional marketing. The top three messages respondents wanted to hear were how the business is responding to the crisis (68%), the impact on distribution (49%), and information on products and services (48%).
Findings in the Qualtrics study also revealed how Singaporeans want brands to communicate with them, highlighting a strong preference for tried and tested channels. Email came out on top as the most preferred communication channel (52%), followed by online media (46%), and Facebook (44%). Bottom of the list were Twitter (7%), TikTok (3%), and other media besides email, online media, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, TV advertising, radio, print, Twitter and TikTok.
“Social distancing restrictions have limited the ways businesses can interact with their customers, which means regular and effective communications through traditional channels is critical to keeping people engaged. For communications to be effective however, brands need to find a balance in how often they are communicating, and the topics being discussed. This approach actively demonstrates the value brands bring to keep their customers’ attention in rapidly changing markets. (Source: Qualtrics)