Today’s consumers are demanding transparency. But brands have to go further than ever before. Mobile technology and constant connectivity have created an expectation among consumers for on-demand, detailed information. 94% say it is important to them that the brands and manufacturers they buy from are transparent about what’s in their food and how it’s made and 37% say they are willing to switch brands if their current brand does not provide the product information they seek.

Building a culture of transparency and trust is critical for food companies and even for brands outside of the food space. But it goes even beyond what is in the product and how it is made. Every decision a brand makes, including how and where they communicate, has become a reflection of who they are, what they stand for and in turn if consumers can trust them.

One way to build trust. Extreme Transparency.

Let’s talk about just how transparent is. Consumers demand A LOT of information. So much so that The Grocery Manufacturers Association created a way to complement consumers shopping by enabling them to get all the information they could ever want to know about a product and the brand doesn’t even have to put it on the package.

SmartLabel lets brands share accurate data about a product in real time. Consumers can get detailed information about thousands of food, beverage, personal care, household and pet products by scanning a QR code, calling a phone number or visiting a participating brand’s website. The info is extensive. Everything from nutritional information, allergens, third-party certifications, social compliance programs, sustainability programs,, etc. Brands like Campbell’s, Hershey’s, Pepsi, and Smuckers are already using it.  I think this is an amazing tool, but I question how many consumers actually know that it exists. I would love to see an awareness campaign around this! Grocery Manufacturers Association, I can help!


And there’s more.

Brands have the opportunity to build trust or lose it based on where their messaging is showing up. This used to be simple. Media teams would tell networks not to run their ads during controversial shows. But thanks to social media, this has gotten very complex an almost impossible to control.

And consumer trust on platforms, like Facebook, Twitter and Google, is declining.  Consumer trust in news found on platforms like Facebook, Google and Twitter decreased in 21 of 21 countries surveyed.  Even brands that are truly aware and connected to their consumers have to worry about where their messages pop up because being in the wrong place with the right message can negatively impact a brand.  

Take Unilever. They’ve been working fast and furiously to clean up their manufacturing supply chain now are focusing on cleaning up their media supply chain. As Liz Miller, Senior VP of marketing at the CMO Council says, “Unilever, the campaign behind Dove’s Real Beauty campaign, can’t and shouldn’t stand for the brand being adjacent to negative, hate-filled or divisive content”. The lack of trust in the digital industry is an issue that advertisers and society as a whole is wrestling with. 52% of the CMO council say their primary concern around safeguarding their brands online is social media reputation management.

In a time when fake news is trending, trust is a critical factor brands need to consider when re-evaluating digital ad strategies.

Need help figuring out how to build and keep trust for the long haul? Lets talk.

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