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When It Comes to Payments, in Brand We Trust

Cheryl Guerin |

Consumers are not always as complex or complicated as we marketers make them out to be. When they look at all the factors that drive the decision “where should I spend my money,” they know they’re looking at a complex landscape dotted with a lot of different symbols of quality.

Last week, I participated in a panel examining 13 key trends for 2013 prepared by Ford in its first “Looking Further with Ford” report. One of the trends that stood out to me – and others on the panel – was the idea of brand trust as a critical differentiator between established and emerging brands. This will almost definitely have some effect on the future of innovation.

The Ford report noted that there has been some breakdown with consumers’ trust in corporations, government and media. According to Ford, trust in brands has dropped by 50 percent since 2001. You could interpret this as consumers rethinking the way they interact with brands and how those brands behave. Not surprisingly, this drop coincides with the explosion in social media and consumers’ ownership of the brands they interact with.

In the report, trust cuts across all aspects of the customer experience – how products work, innovation, customer service and quality. This has a big impact on brand equity—a 35 percent increase in the correlation between trust and brand equity from 2009 to 2012. In other words, brands have to be seen as addressing consumers’ needs first, while dealing with their customers in authentic and genuine ways. As people watch every dollar they spend, they want their brand choices to positively reflect their own personal brand, reputation and even finances.

In our business – as much as any other industry – the trust factor should be top of mind. While established networks have nearly 50 years of good governance, security and service, new payments brands, form factors and business models come to market with a bias for simplicity. However, this quest for simplicity might lead them to run afoul of some of the safeguards that have built consumer, merchant and issuer trust in the system.

It’s important that everyone in the payments industry – both established players and newcomers – learn from each other on how to improve the payments system and reinforce this key value of trust that is at the foundation of what we do.

Topics: Payments Strategy

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