Building Brand Experiences: Non-Negotiable Brand Transparency

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  • We have reached information overload
  • People are using brands as navigators to help them make the right choices
  • Brand transparency is non-negotiable and customers are scrutinising brands’ external and internal workings
  • Brand experience design will need to instil trust through all touchpoints to build customer confidence
  • How does your brand build a robust relationship of trust with customers? 

Corporate, social and political scandals of the past few years, from Cambridge Analytica to the infamous Brexit bus, have irrevocably altered society. In a post-truth era, inherent trust is no longer a given. Tired of questioning the facts, people are looking to brands as navigators to help them make the right choices. People are more curious, demanding and informed than ever before.

Over the next few columns, creative agency Household will unpack and explore this theme of trust, investigating what it means for wellness brands and why it is key to building lasting customer loyalty. 

An age of information overload
Self-stat-tracking has become the new normal, with one in three people tracking their health and fitness digitally and 30 percent viewing their tracking gadget as a guilt-causing “enemy” rather than a positive information provider (GfK and CNN Health, 2016). Virtual escapism is boundless, as new streaming services, from Disney to Apple, seek to replace Netflix as the definitive source of ‘chill’. Big data has been birthed, information is more accessible than ever and the access channels are seemingly endless. 

The result? Information overload.

Global customers wouldn’t care if 77 percent of brands disappeared, so building a strong brand connection has never been more important (Havas, 2019). In a noisy cultural landscape cluttered with information, simple, clear and consistent messages are going to be the ones that cut through.

With endless options available, people want to know who they can trust. Increased pressure for transparency, in all aspects of business, means it’s more important than ever for brands to demonstrate they are making the right choices on behalf of customers. 

And demand drives innovation. New initiatives are making it easier for customers to quickly discover brands they can trust. 

From “Right to Know Day”, which highlights the public’s right to government-held information to transparency reports pioneered by Google (now common practice for every major tech firm) to Positive Luxury’s Butterfly Mark which identifies luxury brands that meet the highest standards of sustainability –– initiatives that champion transparency are altering to landscape.

New players, like beauty brand No B.S, which prides itself on its trustworthiness take a no-nonsense approach to product and branding alike, cutting out marketing noise and harmful ingredients. As an agile, digital business the brand can have a unique relationship with its customers. Building brand love via expertise in a single product, it can bypass the middle man and build connections directly.

A stripped-back approach to branding is not without its pitfalls, however. Direct-to-consumer health and wellness brands Hims and Hers are known for using friendly communications, minimalistic packaging and a fun tone of voice to de-stigmatise taboo health issues. But, their simplistic online ads transgressed US FDA guidelines after failing to disclose drug-related side effects.

To avoid landing in hot water, brands need to ensure straightforward messaging is still accurate. Nothing will lose trust like a false attempt to be trustworthy.

Building Brand Experiences: Non-Negotiable Brand Transparency

Cutting through the noise
The challenge for brands is to cut through the noise and provide simple, straightforward solutions that build trust and genuinely make customers’ lives easier. Physical brand experience is the key place to do this.

For our new MENY supermarket format in shopping centre CC Vest Oslo, we stripped back complexity and overwhelming communications to let the breadth of the fresh product speak for itself. Counters display as much visibly unpacked food as possible, allowing the customer to see the quality and freshness of the products for themselves. 

We evolved the brand and retail graphic communications to encourage customers to chat with staff, from asking the fishmonger about seasonal choices to getting product recommendations at the cheese cave. And throughout the store, the people pictured in posters and on banners are the same expert staff on the shop floor, instilling a sense of authenticity and trust in the brand and what it has to say. 

Building Brand Experiences: Non-Negotiable Brand Transparency

Image: Household x MENY

A relaxed environment for discovery is key to building trust with customers at the new Samsung X store in London’s Coal Drops Yard. The destination’s simple layout and minimal communications provide a blank canvas for exploration and play. Displays aren’t overcrowded and tech-savvy sales assistants are helpful without being pushy, allowing the product to speak for itself. The pressure-free environment builds trust with the customer, allowing them to build a relationship with the brand on their own terms. This relationship extends beyond product sales with hosted events and workshops, from gaming sessions to demos in the connected kitchen. 

Sustainable fashion brand Everlane has also built a brand founded on trust. It’s famous for its transparent pricing model, highlighting production cost break down and price mark-ups. This is reflected in the store experience too, which puts the product manufacture process front and centre. 

In the brand’s New York outpost in Downtown Manhattan, guests enter through a transparent glass storefront and the first things they see are photos from the brand’s denim factory. Communications throughout reinforce this message of transparency, with additional information about the global factories and sustainable practices in between the products. You can even put on headphones and listen to the sound of the brand’s T-shirt factory in LA. 

In a noisy world, transparency and clarity are the main drivers for brand trust. How can you build a transparent brand experience? 

Household is an award-winning creative agency building transformative brand experiences that blend experience strategy, innovation and design for modern brands around the world. The company works globally from London and Los Angeles. 

For more information visit: household-design.com

Welltodo 2020 Consumer Wellness Trends Report

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