5 Things Your Brand Can Do to Enhance Consumer Trust

July 30, 2019

By now you have seen pictures of people who you follow on social media using the photo editor app, FaceApp, to age themselves as part of the recent #AgeChallenge that over 150 million people have now taken part in. The social media challenge prompted people to use the app’s “old age” feature to edit their photos to make themselves look decades older. Although it’s clearly fun to see what you would look like when you’re old, the app quickly faced backlash from consumers over the issue of privacy and there’s been a call from groups to delete the app immediately.

crisis communications pr faceapp

Particularly, concerns arose around FaceApp’s terms of service that allows the company to use your name and photo for essentially whatever they wanted, and some experts are wary of the access they will have to millions of mobile phone libraries. Cybersecurity researchers believe a company like Faceapp will be able to use our photos to assist with AI facial recognition, for instance, whether you like it or not. Its term of services reads:

“You grant FaceApp a perpetual, irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully-paid, transferable sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, publicly perform and display your User Content and any name, username or likeness provided in connection with your User Content in all media formats and channels now known or later developed, without compensation to you. When you post or otherwise share User Content on or through our Services, you understand that your User Content and any associated information (such as your [username], location or profile photo) will be visible to the public.”

Now more than ever, consumers expect brands to be as trustworthy as their best friend and aren’t afraid to call said brand out when they believe their data is being used for nefarious purposes. To stay ahead of the curve, here are five things your brand can do to enhance consumer trust…

1. Be Transparent About Your User Data:
Data is everything to brand marketers and it can help you serve the right products, to the right consumer, at the right time, and at the right touchpoint. Consumers unknowingly give brands their data with every click or purchase they make, and it can really elevate a brand marketers ability to execute against predetermined goals—however—you must tread lightly. Craig Shue, an associate professor of computer science at Worcester Polytechnic Institute told TIME that the terms of service for Faceapp appear to be pretty consistent with similar apps that use the cloud.

Reexamine the touch-points where you collect a consumer’s data, whether you’re a B2B marketer generating leads or an e-commerce seller collecting addresses and credit card information, and let the consumer know explicitly what data you will be collecting and storing in your databases.

To reinforce brand trust I recommend having a short, but readable, message at any information collection touch-points that lets users know what information you will be collecting and keeping to enhance their experience. People skipped reading Faceapp’s term of service, don’t let them miss yours.

2. Reexamine Your Brand Safety Guidelines:
Brand marketers often work with vendors that serve ads over programmatic platforms and, just how users put their trust in brands to use their data correctly, brands trust programmatic platforms to serve their ads on websites and platforms that align with their target audience and core values as a brand.

There are now various watchdog groups that are more than comfortable calling out a brand on social media that advertises on a site promoting extreme points of view, which can result in a hit to your brand’s reputation. It’s important to meet consistently with key internal stakeholders to reexamine what your brand stands for and ensure that message is safety and consistency expressed across all platforms.

3. Be Accessible and Active:
Community management has become a vital tool for today’s brands to be more accessible and enhance consumer trust. Consumers expect brands to answer their questions and engage with them almost immediately when they reach out through social media.

According to Sprinklr, customers that receive a response from brands on Twitter are willing to spend up to 20 percent more, and are 30 percent more likely to recommend the brand. Consumers respect and will ultimately trust brands that invest the time to connect with their consumers, and community management is one important way to enhance that trust. Customer service should be a core pillar of your brand as the people on the frontlines often set the tone.

4. Be Honest:
I consistently see articles on how brands are getting hacked and customer data has been compromised. And there is, in general, a growing distrust among consumers toward any tech company or social media platform—particularly in this era of fake news or newer technologies like deepfake.

Companies with mobile apps now use FaceID and fingerprints to login, store our credit card information, and use voice enabled technology to help customers through search functions and answer questions. It’s a brand marketer’s responsibility to be honest with a customer what data they have access to and when a cyberattack or data breach hits.

5. Consistency is Key:
Although authenticity is an important part of building trust, being consistent and on-brand is more important. Now would be a good time to make sure the right stakeholders have a good hold on your brand’s voice and its point of view on how your target audience feels about the world, especially on the topic of privacy. Consumers become wary of companies that consistently rebrand or change their terms of service a lot.

Any brand can have a FaceApp privacy crisis, but if you invest the time to build trust between your brand and the consumers you covet, it should be smooth sailing. Contact me here with any questions.

Daniel Stillman is a Junior Copywriter on the digital team wihin Ketchum’s Chicago office.