In the process of conducting monthly research about the attitudes of citizens in light of the COVID-19 pandemic during 2020 and 2021, one of the basic findings is a general decline in trust towards institutions and a general decline in trust in society. What we can learn from this within the framework of marketing, brand development and consumer care is exactly the need to regain consumers' trust in our brand, our product, and our story. Additionally, other international research also proves that in times of crisis, trust in brands is the key to customer loyalty.
To determine the importance of brand trust among citizens of Croatia, during May, we conducted research on a nationally representative sample of N=500, using an online method. Our aim was to examine how important trust in brand is and how much it contributes to the loyalty of Croatian consumers.
The results have shown that 57% of citizens state that in times of crisis, they purchase brands they can trust more often than others. Along with brand trust, the trend of importance of socially responsible behavior of the company is also significant (with an emphasis on green economies); more than half of all respondents also states that they more often buy brands that behave responsibly towards the environment.
In addition to a good value for money and best quality, brand trust is important or a key characteristic for purchase – for 88% of respondents.
When they are asked to estimate their level of trust in their favourite brand (regardless of category and specific brand), 68% of respondents state that they trust or completely trust their favourite brand. For their favourite brand, 72% of respondents also claim that they would gladly recommend it to people they consider close. If we analyze other statements about favourite brands, we can examine three segments according to the relationship with a favourite brand: involvement, loyalty, and brand advocacy. The results gathered from agreement with claims about favourite brands show that 57% of respondents display an intent of advocating for their favourite brand, which means that users are important ambassadors of our brand if they consider it their favourite. 49% of respondents display loyalty towards their favourite brand, and 46% of them display involvement. If we additionally analyze trust in a favourite brand and the three mentioned segments, we can conclude that the likelihood of advocating for a favourite brand increases with brand trust. Besides that, the level of involvement and loyalty of the users also increases with brand trust.