Trust, the third key factor influencing consumers’ purchase decisions, is also not a new concept. However probably for the first time, consumers have seen organizations put the well-being of their customers and their employees ahead of profit. “Acting in my best interest” is a key driver of trust. Consequently trust between a consumer and an organization has become increasingly multidimensional and contextual. Will I be safe when I interact with them? Can I trust them to put my wellbeing before profit? Will my data be safe? Will they behave creditably when it comes to their environmental and social obligations?

Trusting organizations compared with before COVID-19, graph

On balance, most organizations have fared favorably in the eyes of the consumer. We see a net increase in trust of +3 percent, with some significant market variations. From a sector perspective, it is the grocery sector that has seen the greatest improvements in consumer trust (+8 percent), possibly as their immediate actions were most visible during lockdown periods across the globe. Trust, and its various components, have become a much more critical factor in influencing consumer decision making. While ‘personal safety (+56 percent) has increased most in importance, we see an increase in consideration of all elements of trust, from caring for the local community, to caring for colleagues, and to caring for the planet.

What does this mean in the new reality?

Organizations will need to review their sense of purpose and ensure it is aligned to the unique environmental and social impact that they can make. Organizations will also need to identify where they can build trust and ensure that actions that erode trust are eradicated.