Trust and Advertising: Bridging the Gap

Posted by Steve Kleber on Dec 13, 2010

Advertising today is a completely different ballgame than it was 50 – or even 10 – years ago. With thousands of ways for companies to reach their target audience, including digital advertising like banner ads and social media or more traditional print ads, one thing is for sure: advertising can be totally successful or a big waste of time and money. Ads that work produce exceptional results, convincing a person to purchase a product or service almost immediately. Unfortunately, not all ads claim this kind of success and many companies admit that they often don’t see much success resulting from their current campaigns.

On the other side of things, consumers are coming forward to admit that they don’t trust current advertising. Thankfully, fixing this disconnect is possible thanks to an always changing industry ready to take on the challenge.

Have you ever seen an ad that just doesn’t resonate or make sense? What about an ad that seems too good to be true? If an ad is created to sell something – a product, service or an idea – it’s helpful if the message is not only clear… but believable. According to a new Adweek Media/Harris Poll of 2,098 U.S. adults surveyed online in October, only one in five American adults says they trust that advertising is honest in its claims all or most of the time. Another report by Alterian (“Your Brand: At Risk or Ready for Growth?”) suggests that the number of consumers who don’t trust advertising is disturbingly close to 100 percent.

The Adweek study shows that all adults are skeptical of advertising claims, but older adults are more suspicious than younger adults with one in five adults 55 years and older saying they never trust that advertising is honest compared to less than one in 10 18-34 year olds who say the same. While 90 percent of young adults aged 18-34 say they trust that advertising is honest in its claims at least sometimes, 86 percent of older adults agree.

Conversely, the Alterian report found that 95 percent of respondents indicated that they did not trust advertising. Less than a tenth (8 percent) trust what companies say about themselves, and more than half (58 percent) agreed with the statement “companies are only interested in selling products and services to me, not necessarily the product or service that is right for me.”

What’s the possible solution? It’s obvious that the decline of successful advertising stems from the lack of trust society has in today’s advertising, yet what’s more clear is the need for personal interaction between advertisers and their future customers. With only 17 percent of respondents saying they believe companies take what they say seriously, it’s time for advertisers to reach their customers on a personal level. With countless opportunities to engage with consumers online and within social networks, only time (and sales) will tell.

This entry was posted by Steve Kleber on Monday, December 13th, 2010 at 10:32 am and is filed under Advertising. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.