The 2018 B2B Trusted Brands Report has arrived, providing insight into what the most trusted brands in the US have in common. From its findings, we can glean how B2B companies can increase customer loyalty and upsell, knowing that brand trust creates loyal customers—and loyal customers spend 67% more than new ones.1
During the first quarter of 2018, the most trusted B2B brands in the US were identified by Sagefrog. We collected more than 1,000 votes through a customer choice survey and ranked the results by trust—a key factor in B2B for successful promotion of a brand and retention of professional relationships for ongoing business. Since marketing for any B2B company is dependent on referrals and word-of-mouth promotion, it’s vital for B2B brands to develop a rapport with clients and others to characterize their brand as a trustworthy player in the market.
Three brands topped the list as the most trusted B2B brands in America: FedEx, Amazon and Google. By looking at the brand development and promotion of each of these companies, we’ll find out how each has succeeded in building trust with takeaways from each company’s story.
FedEx: Its Brand Is More Than a Product or Service
FedEx has built trust by understanding why trust is necessary. Its package delivery service may make it seem like the company’s reputation would be based on logistics and speed, but FedEx realizes that it’s what’s inside those packages that count: critical business information and materials that can seriously damage a company’s bottom line if lost or delayed.
FedEx has built a brand that emphasizes trustworthiness in all aspects of the company, starting with employees. FedEx trains its 290,000 team members worldwide to focus on safety, ethics and the needs of their customers and communities. The company also builds upon its reputation by using every touchpoint with customers as an opportunity to showcase its trustworthiness.
From its strong base, FedEx builds a reputation through initiatives and promotions focused on a sense of community, including:
- Engaging with consumers through social media and their FedEx Citizenship blog
- Providing incentive for loyal customers with a personalized rewards program
- Running several charitable initiatives with a mindset of social responsibility
Each of these initiatives combine to build the company’s identity from a simple package delivery company to a business that packages responsibility as part of their brand; they demonstrate that any company, whatever their product, needs to find what that product represents to their consumers to build a trusted brand.
Amazon: Consumer-Driven Service Creates Loyalty
Amazon has re-shaped the landscape of retail, and its success has a lot to do with building trust. As a pioneer in online shopping, where consumers had to order products online and in the faith that the product, as described, without being able to see or touch it in person, would be delivered safely and on time to their door, Amazon had to foster a whole new level of trust in their brand. They did so with superior service by building the company around their consumers’ experience and providing a level of engagement not previously exhibited by an online retailer.
Amazon pioneered the modern online customer review in a time when many in the business industry thought allowing negative product reviews to be public would be catastrophic. But allowing for honesty and transparency that helps the consumer paid off, and as a result, the company continued to grow, offering services that made using Amazon easy and enjoyable for consumers, such as:
- Millions of products
- Twenty-four-seven service
- Recommendations based on past purchases
- Cutting-edge search technology
Amazon has continued to expend massive time, energy and resources on innovation based around the consumer, including now-famous innovations like the Kindle, Fire TV and Alexa and its compatible Echo, in a pursuit to provide personalized experiences. This is because Amazon knows that if consumers feel a company knows them and reliably delivers the experience they want, they reward that company with their trust and business.
Google: Ethics Are an Asset
Google is a massive company that most people interact with daily without much thought, whether checking Gmail, watching YouTube or googling for any number of reasons. With such a dominant presence in consumers’ lives, Google needs to assure users that they obey their own famous motto, “Don’t be evil”—demonstrating it’s a trustworthy company that won’t go against users’ best interests.
The company manages this by putting performance and reputation before profit and raising the bar for what they allow to be monetized. The company has
- eliminated billions of online advertisements as part of an initiative to minimize misleading or harmful ads2;
- introduced programs to combat ad fraud and improve transparency for buyers; and
- worked to make advertising less invasive for consumers, in part as a member of the Coalition for Better Ads.
As Google builds its ethical credibility, it manages its reputation through promotion that presents a personal relationship between the tech giant and its users. Ad campaigns have featured a father creating a scrapbook of his daughter’s life using Google software and a father using Google Hangouts to keep in touch with his daughter when she goes off to college. It then leverages these relationships through B2B-focused campaigns that highlight their relationship with users to encourage businesses to purchase ads. Google therefore provides an example of how initiatives that don’t provide immediate profit but strengthen your brand can be the lifeblood of a business.
Learning from the Best
Your brand is key to your success, and what good is a B2B brand that isn’t trusted? It’s no coincidence that some of the biggest companies in the world have the most trusted brands. FedEx, Amazon and Google have each succeeded by pursuing trust in a way that fits their business.
- FedEx has figured out the full significance of its service and implements training and socially conscious programming to fit
- Amazon determines what consumers need to feel safe and enthusiastic about shopping online, and they innovate accordingly
- Google puts ethics first and leverages its relationship with their users to sell ads
Each brand offers takeaways you can adapt to your business, as well as one overarching lesson: you can’t build trust simply by promoting your brand. You must find out what your service means to your consumers and build a brand that fits their needs, then take concrete steps, whether training employees or initiating real-world programs, to prove to consumers your company deserves their trust.
If you want to find out more, including three factors all the most trusted brands have in common; who came out on top among FedEx, Amazon and Google; and where companies like Starbucks, Dell and LinkedIn ranked among over 40 companies, download The 2018 B2B Trusted Brands Report here.