Trust Increases Sales
Every year, consumer trust in food products declines. According to Nielsen’s Global Health & Wellness Survey, 44% — or nearly half of the people in the United States and Canada — distrust manufacturers claims on their food labels and packaging. While this suggests broader issues with our food industry, savvy marketers leverage this distrust and focus on increasing their own brand’s trust. That’s because savvy marketers know that trust is a critical strategic asset to the growth and longevity of a brand— because trust increases sales.
“You can have all the facts and figures, all the supporting evidence, all the endorsement that you want, but if at the end of the day you don’t have trust, you won’t get anywhere.” Niall FitzGerald, Chairman Unilever
People Buy From Brands They Trust
While trust may seem like a warm and fuzzy concept— it delivers cold, hard results to your business, brand, and bottom line. That is because studies have consistently shown that there are strong connections between a brand’s trust and its sales.
Increasing Trust Increases Sales
Edelman, a leading PR firm that tracks trust, stated in their 2009 edition of the Trust Barometer report that sales are directly linked to levels of trust, and that trust increases sales. Given the graphic representation above of attitudes and consumer behaviors, it should be apparent that trust is vital to forming an enduring buyer/seller connection. However, as product choices multiply in the marketplace and product differentiation is reduced, harnessing and building a firm foundation of trust will become even more vital to sales.
As the Harvard Business Review suggests, building brand trust and confidence is a “critical strategic asset” in sales as consumer choice increases, and the consumer is tasked with making purchasing decisions among similar items. Therefore, increasing brand trust is crucial not only to initial sales conversions but also to ensure that your consumers choose your brand time and time again.
“Sales are directly linked to trust.” Edelman, Trust Barometer Report, 2009
Third-party Food Certifications Increase Brand Trust
Third-party food certifications are one of the top 5 ways a brand can increase consumer confidence. Third Party Certification Organizations offer certification or a procedure by which an impartial third party gives written assurance that a product, process or service has confirmed to certain predetermined, written standards. Studies by Cone Communications and Globescan suggest that the majority of consumers agree that the best way to verify a product’s claims are through independent third party certification. These studies on consumer behavior suggest that more than 76% of consumers agree that independent certifications increase their trust in a brand. This is because Third Party Certifications are able to impart a level of trust that other on-package claims made by the brand can’t.
Third Party Certifications increase trust by:
Offering Social Proof
Otherwise known as informational social influence, is a powerful psychological and social phenomenon that is a primary driver not only of our trust but also our buying habits.
Implying Credence Qualities
Attributes that cannot be verified by the consumer by visually inspecting a product can be implied with third-party certification marks. For example, you might be able to tell a beef is fresh by looking at it, but to tell if it’s grass-fed, humanely raised, or Organic, you need a certification mark.
Reducing Conflicts of Interest
Conflict of interest arises in a situation in which a person is in a position to derive personal benefit from actions, decisions, or claims made in their official capacity. However, third-party certification verifies that a product, process or service meets a defined, universal standard. Third-party certifications organizations maintaining universal standards should never benefit from the sales of the products that they have certified to ensure this aspect, and should never sell products of their own.
Unfortunately, there are unethical operations that exist that offer certification without accreditation, are involved in the sale and production of their own products, or attempting to benefit from the sales of certified brands. These operations should be met with a considerable amount of caution.
Using Consumer Heuristics of Food Tribalism and Kinship Concepts
Often, the under-appreciated advantage that successful brands and marketers have is an understanding of the behavioral psychology. A critical facet of behavioral psychology is the study of heuristics. Think of a heuristic as a shortcut our brains use to make decision-making processes easier. In other words, heuristic principles are cognitive biases that reduce decision friction. Evidence suggests that the concept of “similarity” between people may be defined by genetics, social identity, attitudes, and values. These similarities, or “psychological kinship,” also have the potential to influence an individual’s purchasing behavior .
Psychological kinship is another heuristic that inspires increased trust, increased sharing, and increased purchasing behavior between individuals and brands who display ideological similarities— such as being a part of the same food tribe. Such cues, along with repeated positive interactions, can lead to enhanced trust, “psychological kinship,” and brand loyalty. Appealing to the psychological kinship heuristic with well-recognized Food Tribe Certification programs such as the Certified Paleo, or Keto Certified logos inspires brand loyalty because it is a function of the psychological kinship heuristic at work. It should be no surprise that consumer and industry analysts have found that members of respective food tribes are beginning to prefer alternative on-package claims and third-party certifications that validate the “inclusiveness” of a product within their personal eating philosophy/food tribe .
Consumer-Forward Third-Party Food Certifications
From the consumer standpoint, it can be a tedious and time-consuming task to make an informed decision on a product based on ingredient statements and packaging claims, alone. However, certification improves credibility by offering consumers peace of mind knowing that the product has been independently verified by a regulatory agency to meet a specific set of standards and food values.
As consumers are increasingly distrusting of on-package claims— while simultaneously making purchasing decisions to reflect social, political, and ethical values— food certification labels that impart trust and inclusiveness are becoming more important than ever as a tool for communicating both quality and brand values in the marketplace.
That’s exactly what the Paleo Foundation offers. A simple and effective way to increase transparency, support brand claims, and help brands garner the value alignment — and trust— of consumers.
All with just a logo.