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December 27, 2022

Trust Research & Predictions For 2023 // Local Marketing Insider #049

We end 2022 with the latest trust research and a few predictions for 2023. To summarize, distrust is now the default, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer.

Happy holidays and happy New Years. Thank you for reading LMI this year. 2023 marks the two-year anniversary of LMI, the first issue of 2023 is #50! 

Now that planning season is wrapped, I can confidently say we’ve got some exciting things ahead for you in the coming months. In addition to the newsletter, we will be adding some new, fresh ideas and content types. 

To start, next month we will be launching a content video library, making LMI Live video easily browsable in one place. Reviews, reputation management, trust marketing - everything you need to build a strategy that wins in the peer-to-peer trust economy.

Stay tuned!

To end 2022, I wanted to find the most up-to-date trust research on the market. Here are five highlights that stood out to me. For more helpful info, stats and guidance, be sure to check out our selection of the best marketing newsletters

We live in a world of skeptics.

According to data sourced from the 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer, distrust is now society’s default tendency. Nearly 6 in 10 say their default is to distrust something until they see evidence it is trustworthy.

With this in mind, we think it’s wise to operate your business from a place of understanding, assuming your prospects carry a healthy amount of skepticism into the consideration process. Trust must be earned. 

But, business is still the most trusted institution.

On the other hand, business is the most trusted institution, ahead of the government and media. Broader undercurrents of distrust are in part fueled by institutions other than business. 

Businesses are positioned to lead the way in breaking the cycle of distrust, recognizing their role as a trusted leader. 

Trust is on the rise in all industries except social media.

According to Edelman’s trust threshold, most industries enjoy a baseline of trust. Social media, which is likely dragged down by its interconnectedness with politics and media, is the only industry that is firmly distrusted.

The Edelman survey talks at length about societal leadership now being “a core function” of business. The general public wants more engagement by businesses on broad-reaching societal issues, such as “climate change” or “trustworthy information.”

More actionable for LMI readers, 58% of people buy or advocate for a brand based on their beliefs and values. When brands take a stance on issues that resonate with target buyers it’s good for business. Going further, communicating those beliefs through customer content is a strong trust-building formula to consider for 2023.

Institutional trust has evolved in recent years. New names, fresh faces, same problems.

In the last 10 years, the face of institutional trust has evolved, epitomized by the “tech CEO hero.” Think Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Tesla’s Elon Musk, Uber’s Travis Kalanick and WeWork’s Adam Neumann.

Now, as the economy shutters, the public is largely disappointed in their leadership. Mass layoffs and erratic business moves give the appearance of a group of leaders that are out of touch.

Further, the literal embodiment of institutional power, the palatial headquarters, is quietly going away. Tech companies are downsizing offices and Amazon is pausing construction plans.

As institutional challenges continue to sow doubt, buyers will continue to turn to their peers to validate and build trust in businesses.

Power shift from companies to customers.

Buyers have a lot of choices, better public information and higher expectations. 

And they trust their own research the most

*This research was conducted in a B2B setting, but the general findings are applicable to many types of high-consideration purchases.

If you sell a medium-to-high consideration product, your sales and marketing experience should be designed with the assumption that your buyers are doing a healthy amount of independent research. Surrounding your company with a flattering brand mosaic will make sure independent prospect research leads to favorable outcomes.

Interestingly, trust in analyst research (Gartner, Forrester) is low, these groups more and more often being viewed as an extension of the corporation, employing a pay-to-play business model.

Influential marketing personality, Christopher Lochhead, communicates a similar POV on PR, articulating the fading credibility of outlets like Forbes & Inc. in conjunction with the rapid rise in independent publishing - blogs, newsletters, podcasts, etc.

Widewail’s Trust Marketing Predictions

The reviewable event will evolve beyond the transaction.

Businesses will begin to identify and leverage reviewable events beyond the transaction. Expanding their definition of a “reviewable event” will open up massive opportunities for more reviews, growth not possible by focusing on optimizing request-to-review conversion performance.

Trust built via short-form customer video and visual search will expand significantly.

Hubspot dubbed 2023 the year of short-form video. In September Google launched many new search features creating a more visual search experience. Arguably, this was in response to younger users searching for recommendations with visual tools, such as TikTok.

We expect the visual search trend to continue, and businesses leveraging customer video will enjoy less competition than other saturated local search markets.

Cheers to 2022. See you on the other side.

See you in 2 weeks - Jake, Marketing @Widewail

Jake Hughes

I’m the Director of Marketing here at Widewail, as well as a husband and new dad outside the office. I'm in Vermont by way of Boston, where I grew the CarGurus YouTube channel from 0 to 100k subscribers. I love the outdoors and hate to be hot, so I’m doing just fine in the arctic Vermont we call home. Fun fact: I met my wife on the shuttle bus at Baltimore airport. Thanks for reading Widewail’s content!

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