Trustworthiness is a major player in brand sustainability. According to 2015 Nielsen Global Corporate Sustainability Report, 62% of global consumers reported that “brand trust” is the primary purchase decision driver. Of which, 72% are willing to pay a premium. Trust seems to act like a magical remedy to minimize the anxiety of risk-averse (or price-sensitive) consumers, which in turn leads to brand loyalty. Speaking of risk-aversion, there is one particular industry that absolutely cannot “screw-up”. The healthcare industry.
A 2014 study on healthcare branding found that “trust is a key variable in establishing affective commitment in consumer brand relationships” (Becerra, Jillapalli, and Kemp 133). In building a sustainable brand, trust is especially critical in this sector due to the fact that individuals surrender sensitive information to the healthcare provider, and also his or her physical and psychological well-being.
Even though trust is a critical aspect in healthcare, consumer’s industry perception begs to differ. According to 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer – Healthcare Sector Results, 61% of general population trusts the healthcare industry, which is on the lower end compared to other industries (technology being the most trusted at 75%, followed by manufacturing at 67%). What measures could be implemented to tackle this problem? Kelly Michelson, Associate Professor of pediatrics and Director of the Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities at Feinberg School of Medicine states the following:
“Research shows that open lines of communication create trust, and vice versa, and that trusting relationships are key to better healthcare outcomes. One study, for example, has shown that poor communication among the staff in a pediatric hospital influenced their trust levels and how they cared for patients. In another study, clinicians who worked in an intensive care unit were trained in how to conduct a family meeting, specifically in empathetic listening.”
Internal change is vital to cultivating a brand’s trust. As stated in Nielsen 2015 report, “Global Trust in Advertising”, with respect to earned advertising format, 83% of global consumers reported that they trust the recommendations of peers, followed by consumer opinions posted online at 66%. In terms of owned (brand-managed) format, online channels are considered to be the most trusted. 70% of global consumers trust branded websites, and more than half of respondents (56%) trust emails they signed up for.
Becerra, Enrique, Ravi K. Jillapalli, and Elyria Kemp. “Healthcare branding: Developing emotionally based consumer brand relationships.” Journal of Services Marketing 28.2 (2014): 126-137. Print.
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