Three ways PR builds customer trust

US business author Stephen Covey once claimed that “trust is the highest form of human motivation”. It is for this reason that marketers actively strive to develop trust among customers and prospects.

By Thomas Roden, senior account executive

There is a fine line between marketing and PR activity. For marketers, the mission is to ensure that a business and its products or services are put in front of a target audience. PR looks more at how the business is perceived by that audience and builds brand trust.

This subtle distinction makes both marketing and PR essential in their own rights, but there are three core PR values that marketers should consider in their strategies.

Keep them in mind

Writing with the reader in mind is essential in marketing material, but this extends beyond understanding the job title of your target market. This also influences the ways you reach them and, more importantly, the words you use to communicate.

A good salesperson understands the value of mirroring, which is to subtly replicate the customer’s posture, in building rapport. Marketers without a sales background might find this odd, but there have been several psychological studies on mirroring conducted.

In one such study, conducted by Duke University psychologists Robin Tanner and Tanya Chartrand, participants were asked to try a new drink before its market release and give feedback. Interviewers subtly mirrored some of the participants and this made those mimicked more likely to give positive feedback, saying they would purchase it and even predict its success.

The response was positive even when participants believed the interviewee had a stake in the product. As Chartrand herself said, “we found that people who were mimicked actually felt more strongly about the product when they knew the other person was invested in it.”

Of course, you can’t copy the body language of your audience in marketing material. Marketers can, however, leverage mirroring in the language used in public-facing material, such as blog posts and press articles. By using language that the audience also uses, marketers can subconsciously build trust.

Consider their future

Customers seldom buy products for the sake of simply buying them. Instead, they buy to meet a specific need or achieve a certain goal. This is what marketers must tap into to build trust.

Thought leadership press articles are perfect examples of this. These pieces involve a notable spokesperson for a brand highlighting an industry issue, giving expert advice on how to overcome it and subtly mentioning the company’s product or service as an example. 

This works because it directly addresses the issues that pose problems to a marketer’s audience, with the insight being the primary focus and the specific product being secondary. It shows that both customer and company share a common goal and are effectively on the same team — and who doesn’t trust a teammate?

Show an interest

Marketers with a strictly marketing background working in a B2B environment may not be as enthused about a company’s new product as, say, an engineer would be. This shows in the marketing material, as marketers that are less interested typically produce less interesting copy.

The trouble with this is that if the aim is to get audiences engaged with a brand, the marketing material needs to be interesting to be effective. The way to address this is simple: be inquisitive and be interested. Alternatively, consult with a technical PR agency that is and can work with you.

While there is a lot more to technical and B2B PR than three values, keeping those points in mind will help marketers build trust and motivate customers and prospects alike.

Thomas Roden

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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