Are your customer's Advocates or Antagonists

Are your customer's Advocates or Antagonists?

Are your customer's Advocates or Antagonists?

Are your customer's Advocates or Antagonists?

What can you learn from your brand ranking in America’s Most Trusted study?

Trust among those you serve is not uniform.  Some people will have a deep, committed level of trust, others will see their trust in your brand as undifferentiated, and then there will be a contingent that will not trust you. When assessing your brand trust, it is important to understand the different trust groups your customers fall into. America’s Most Trusted® uses a Net Trust score that is based on the fundamental perspective that every organization's customer can be divided into three categories: trust advocates, neutrals, and antagonists.

Trust advocates” are customers that feel a significant trust toward a given brand. When someone is a trust advocate, he or she feels a personal connection with the brand.  They see the brand as reliable, honorable, and of course, trustworthy. Trust advocates go out of their way to share with others their confidence in a specific brand which they trust. Trust advocates see a premium value in the products and services offered by those brands they trust.  Brands such as Taylor Morrison, Trilogy, and Sotheby’s International Realty are real estate brands that have each demonstrated they have a significant contingent trust advocates among people searching for a new home, a new active adult community, or seeking the services of a residential broker.

Neutrals” are customers that trust a specific brand, but they do not see that brand as standing on the shoulders of other brands regarding trust. This group of consumers sees little differentiation of a specific brand regarding how it compares to other similar brands rated on the dimension of trust. As a result, neutrals do not speak up and say anything about a brand based on their confidence and trust in a brand. Neutrals see the brand as a commodity in which the offering is of no greater or lesser value of others and is seen as easily interchangeable to other commoditized brands.

Antagonists” are skeptics and have little, if any, trust in a brand. These people feel a negative sense toward brands given the distrust they have toward a brand. This distrust, in turn, fuels a need to share with other people their convictions that a specific brand cannot be trusted. Antagonists often will express negative emotional states about the brand and hold on to these feelings with strong conviction.

By segmenting brand trust into these different groups of customers, you can begin to understand better how your brand is seen.  Strong trust advocate brands are often characterized by a spiritual zeal and cooperation from their customers who seek to be associated with the brand. If your brand ranks below average, it is entirely possible for the majority of your customers to fall into the Neutral category, which doesn’t mean customers distrust you. Consider those who fall into the Neutral category as potential Advocates. Focus on moving these customers from Neutrals to Advocates by shaping positive perceptions of your brand in new, interesting ways.  Finally, even if you have a relatively small portion of antagonist among your customer base, it is important not only to understand how these people became antagonists, but it is of significant value to uncover ways to make amends with those who distrust your brand.

 Lifestory will be publishing the most recent results of the America’s Most Trusted ® study in January 2019.  In the most recent study, we rank the trust of brands in home building, kitchen appliances, heating and air conditioning systems, laundry appliances, residential brokerages, active adult resort builders, faucets, and household paints. In addition to these brand categories, the study this upcoming year will also include brands within the product verticals of windows, vacuums, mattress beds, computers, as well as other brand categories.

 This Article is About:

  • How to build brand trust

  • Building trust with customers

  • Brand building with brand marketing research

  • Brand reputation, reliability, and intention

  • America’s Most Trusted brands


Eric Snider