A sceptical society: How can B2B brands gain the trust of their audience?

A survey published by Deloitte this year found that, out of more than 13,000 millennials across 42 countries, just 55% believe that businesses have a positive impact on society. Furthermore, 76% agreed with Deloitte’s conclusion that there is a ‘growing view that businesses focus on their own agendas rather than considering wider society’. In the same vein, another survey published this year discovered that Generation Z is more likely to trust that large companies are operating in society’s best interests only when the companies show it by their actions.

These statistics form part of a wider trend – that younger generations are, generally, sceptical of business’ motives and instead are seeking to patronise businesses that are conscientious and transparent. And, with 38% of those surveyed by Deloitte saying that they have stopped or lessened relationships with a business if they negatively impact society, it’s time for businesses to sit up and listen.

Is your business the real deal?

The age of ‘fake’ is coming to an end and in today’s switched-on society, consumers are increasingly well-informed about business’ motivations and intentions. It’s much harder to pull the wool over the eyes of younger generations, and this presents a big problem for brands.

Why? Because millennials are fast becoming the most powerful and influential consumer sector. They set buying trends across all industries and have a great influence over what older consumers purchase. By 2020, millennials will make up over a third of the global workforce, while Gen Z already represent £25bn in spending power in the United States.

Doing things differently

Did you know that almost 90 percent of both millennials and Gen Z personally care if they receive honest information about products? However, only 42 percent of Gen Z think brands care about providing honest information – this is a trust gap that needs to be addressed. And traditional advertising is no quick fix to alleviate their concerns. Consumers are socially-informed and knowledge-driven – they’re aware when something is too good to be true, and according to a study by McCarthy group, 84% of millennials stated that they didn’t like or trust traditional advertising.

Plus, today’s B2B consumers, as digital natives, are doing their own research before buying a product – and most won’t speak to a sales rep before they’ve come to a decision. They are searching for authenticity, transparency and honesty, and it’s important for businesses to make sure they address this – whether it’s through their advertising or through their business values and actions.

Be believable

In a world overrun with fake news, hyper-personalisation and seamless product placement, young people are becoming increasingly accustomed to sorting the truth from the falsehoods. And, if your business wants to be seen by this generation as truthful, honest and positively impacting society, it should be a priority to address this.

In the modern B2B world, millennials and Gen Z are the ones with the buying power – and they won’t be swayed by marketing spin or glossy imagery. Now is the time to talk to them one-to-one, respect their intelligence, and make sure that your brand values align with your actions. If you’re found to be less than honest, or if your authenticity is damaged in any way, it will be hard to get them back on your side again.

Would you like to find out more about brand authenticity, and discover some top tips to make sure that your business speaks its truth? Download our new guide today, available now on The Knowledge.

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