Trust forms the foundation for all relationships and in the B2B tech space, that’s no different. We wanted to delve into how brands approached trust building and customer loyalty as part of our The Question of Trust research. So we interviewed a range of marketing professionals from B2B tech brands to find out.
This is what Gail Cook, Head of Strategy & Insights at Glen Dimplex Heating & Ventilation had to say:
“We’ve been around for 70 years, so there’s a trust element there. We’re not a fly-by-night company. We’re not going to go out of business. That’s really important to us and building our brand and our reputation because you see it nowadays, particularly with this digital age and online, is the number of overseas manufacturers who are now able to sell into our markets. People can buy through Facebook and can buy through different channels.
They’re buying electronic equipment that’s maybe not tested, and they’re not up to our safety standards. Then you get counterfeit products. People don’t know any better, and we have a job to do to build trust with our consumers through our brand so that they know when they purchase our products, they are safe, and they can trust us as a brand.
I think more and more brand reputation is going to become even more important in the future, particularly for those end consumers”.
Q: What are the most important components of customer trust?
For us, customer trust is about building partnerships and relationships with people. That’s about us doing what we say we’re going to do, being open and honest, having two-way dialogues.
For us, we also see sustainability as part of trust building.
Many of our retailers, many of our customers are asking for specific credentials around what we’re doing to be more sustainable as a business. We have the full traceability of every product that we make and where those components and where those parts come from and where the raw materials come from, what factories have been produced in and what labour has been used. We share that information with them.
In addition, our factory is fully accredited from a health and safety point of view, and the manufacturing standards. Customers can be confident in what we say around the safety of our products, and that’s something we pride ourselves on. Safety is at the heart of everything that we make.
Q: Have you adopted any new approaches in building those relationships with customers?
Yes. Our industry is changing a lot and there’s a lot of legislation that’s coming into force and that causes uncertainty. We’ve taken the lead in understanding that legislation and supporting our customers and playing that back to bring value in that partnership with them. We’ve been doing CPDs and training sessions online. We would normally have those as face-to-face sessions. Actually, we’ve been able to get more customers coming along to those, and we’re giving those CPDs free of charge. We’re doing analysis that they don’t have time to do themselves. We’re helping them as a business. It’s some of what we’ve been doing in the past, but it’s in a different way of doing that.
Q: What role has PR and marketing played in helping you build that trust? Has it been more significant?
Definitely more significant. We’ve been supporting our sales colleagues. It’s typically our commercial colleagues who would have those direct relationships with the customers, particularly in a B2B environment. We’re supporting behind the scenes. We’ve been investigating the technologies that are available to help them have those communications. We’ve been on the sidelines supporting, making sure things run smoothly, troubleshooting for them because we want them focused on the relationship, not on the peripheral stuff around that.
We’re trying to position ourselves as a trusted expert, and that’s been received really well. We’re bringing activities that are added value to that customer’s business. We’re not just about pushing out our products to them. It’s that added value. How can we help their business grow?
Q: Where do you see the biggest opportunities for PR and marketing in building trust?
There has never been a more important time for brands to step up and talk about what they do well and build their relationships. In my 20 years of marketing, there’s never been a more turbulent time between Brexit, global supply issues, a global pandemic. This is really an unsettling time for everybody. As brands and as familiar brands, we have the rule to build people’s confidence back up that we’re still here, the world is still normal. We provide great products. It’s been unsettling, but we’re here.
Brands have values, we stand for things. As a brand, we do what we say we’re going to do, and we can communicate that out there. We have to now take that step up and bring that reassurance and that trust back to the markets in which we operate.