When launching a trade campaign, the focus is so often on views and clicks. Brands often solely measure PR success by eyeballs in print and online, and traffic generated to their website. While these remain important, a campaign that solely focusses on these metrics will miss a huge part of the story. Trade activity isn’t solely effective at driving awareness. When done well, a trade campaign can improve a company’s reputation, win retailers’ hearts and minds, and increase the trust the trade places in a company’s brands and products.

The blueprint of trust

According to recent research promoted by Newsworks – the marketing body for the UK’s national news publishers – brands build trust on on four pillars:

  1. Familiarity – How well do I know this company/brand?
  2. Fame – Is this brand/company well known for doing what it does?
  3. Competence – Is this brand/company competent at doing what it does?
  4. Risk – What is at stake for me if this brand/company fails me?

The first two pillars – Familiarity and Fame – provide a boost to a brand’s trust. Retailers will trust a brand more over time, through repeated interactions. If they see your team at trade shows, your brand’s name in trade media, and meet your execs at conferences, trust will grow.

The perception of whether your brand is ‘well-known for doing what it does’ comes from utilising case studies from other retailers, and promoting sales figures that establish your brand as a market-leader in its field across different types of stores.

The second two pillars – Competence and Risk – can be a drag on a brand’s trust. Competency is expected, so any time a brand fails to deliver, retailers will have less trust in it. This is where incident management is critical. If retailers are complaining about your delivery service, or if customer confidence is knocked by a factory disaster, having contingency plans in place to manage the narrative can limit the damage.

The bigger the risk in backing a brand, whether that’s financial or reputational, can have an impact on reputation. Challenger brands can alleviate this by offering sale-or-return or giving away free stock with competitions through trade press.

How to measure

As retailers prioritise offering a wider point of difference, market leaders must reaffirm their credentials to keep bestsellers on shelves. Brands that build their next trade campaign on these four pillars will move the dial on how much trust retailers place in them.

But how do you measure trust? You can’t ask a trade title to provide a trust metric in the same way they can show you unique visits to an online article or provide their print opportunities to see.

We can measure trust through surveys. Brands should ensure they regularly ask retailers about how much they trust their products to understand how the trade perceives their business.

Why is trust so important? 

As we discussed in a previous blog, the second-highest brand metric linked to profit is now 'trust' – just behind 'quality'. The more confidence retailers have in you, the more likely you are to increase profits. Stores will be more confident in charging a premium for your brand, which will further drive your brand equity.

Retailers are looking for reliable supplier partners who will help them through the tough trading environment we’re in. Brands should therefore place trust at the centre of their trade strategy and work with quality titles to drive their messages.