Trust in a Creative’s mind?

November 30, 2009

To round up the few postings over the last months on trust in advertising, I spoke to Steven Capp, Chief Creative Officer at the ad agency Unit 7, about his opinions on this “trusty” subject.

Steven Capp is an award-winning writer who has 20 years of experience building brands and finding innovative ways to connect with consumers. Not surprisingly, he had plenty to say about trust:

Raquel: What is the role of trust in advertising? (in your opinion as a creative)

Steve: Trust is the reason consumers engage with a brand. Whether it’s a trust for a lower price, a better quality or that the product was produced in an environmentally-friendly way, trust takes a brand from transaction to relationship.

Raquel: Has this role changed over time?

Steve: Trust has always been a reason to engage, but with trust levels at all-time lows, companies need to be aggressive rather than passive in the building and maintaining of trust. With the advent of the web, trust has also become more fragile and vulnerable to corporate missteps. On the other hand, the web also presents unprecedented opportunity to build and maintain trust.

Raquel: Why should brands/companies focus on trust? Why would they not?

Steve: When consumers trust a brand, it shows that brand is listening to the consumer’s needs. That helps build a relationship with consumers. It creates a positive experience that can spread like wild fire in the online space. Good for business. On the other hand, if companies don’t focusing on building/maintaining trust, that could create negative perceptions which could also find it’s way on the web and create a PR nightmare.

Companies may not see a need for building trust relationships because of ignorance as to how consumers are engaging. They may underestimate the role trust plays, or they may equate marketing dollars spent with a positive brand image.

Raquel: Is there a particular ad campaign out there now, or in the past, that illustrates your view of the impact of trust in advertising? How so?

Steve: Hyundai is a good example of building/restoring trust in a brand. With people losing their jobs, Hyundai came out with a campaign that offered to take the car back if people lost their job. It showed that Hyundai understood what was being discussed around kitchen tables across America. It made people feel good about the brand and trust that Hyundai has their best interest in mind. I know a finance Manager who worked for Hyundai at the time and he said the cars were flying out of the showroom.

Lee Iacoca also did it many years ago when Chrysler was on the verge of going bankrupt.  He claimed they were now building the best built cars in America and challenged the American people to drive everything else first. It was a very powerful message that restored trust in the Chrysler brand.

Thanks to Steven for taking the time to answer these few questions and for his great insight. This sure does make a point about the role of trust in advertising and how it should not be ignored, specially not now, not online.

‘Till next time. Tchau!


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