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Sarah Peyok headshot

Why Your Brand Should Try a Trust Fall

By Sarah Peyok
trust fall

A Porter Novelli/Cone study suggests a brand's purpose will resonate far more with consumers than a product - so consider an attempt at a "trust fall."

If you sell pet food, you should care about animal welfare. If you sell cars, you should care about drivers and their families. If you sell anything, more than likely you are passionate about a correlating cause – and, passionate narratives can make all the difference when it comes to brand loyalty.

In the 2019 Porter Novelli/Cone Purpose Biometrics Study, 79 percent of the more than 1,000 U.S. adults who participated in this study felt—emotionally and physically—a deeper personal connection to companies with values similar to their own.

The study measured facial expressions, heart rate and skin conductance (the phenomenon that occurs when skin momentarily becomes a better conductor of electricity when stimuli occur that are physiologically arousing/exciting) upon viewing a randomized set of advertisements.

Why your brand should consider a 'trust fall'

Respondents were shown two ads from the same brand—a purpose-driven narrative and a product-focused narrative. Purpose advertisements outperformed product advertisements in all three biometric instances of attention, arousal and positive emotion. In fact, product advertisements dipped into the negative emotion categorized as annoyance.

Leading with purpose might bring about feelings of apprehension among some business decision makers. Concerns about alienating audience members are valid. What this study proves is that emotional appeals evoke powerful and positive responses from consumers. The business case for going out on a limb and showing the world which causes your organization supports is worth the risk because the rewards can be great. By engaging your organization in such a “trust fall” with consumers, the hope is that they will lift your brand up … and, so far, it’s working.

Why purpose narratives are important for brands

Authentic purpose narratives build deeper bonds. When a company leads with purpose, consumers agree they would:

  • 89 percent – Have a more positive image of that company

  • 86 percent – Be more likely to trust

  • 83 percent – Be more loyal

Purpose helps brands stand out from the competition. When asked which advertisement was more unique, the overwhelming majority of responses confirmed that purpose leads. When asked which advertisement made them feel better, almost 90 percent of responses confirmed that purpose narratives win over product narratives.

People are looking to connect with and embrace brands that share their values. When deeper bonds are established, a snowball effect of recommendations occurs. People buy what is known, has been proven effective or comes highly recommended.

When a person feels a connection to a brand’s purpose, advocacy blossoms.

  • 79 percent feel proud to sport the company’s logo

  • 74 percent tell others to buy from them

  • 62 percent share information about the company on their social networks

When more people are talking about your brand, publications and media outlets take notice. By sharing what drives your company’s culture, you will elicit biological responses from people passionate about the same issues. When that happens, meet your new brand advocates.

Brand advocates go to bat for brands they trust

Purpose inspires customers to defend you. One example is Patagonia’s The President Stole Your Land campaign. The hashtags #BearsEars (shown above) and #MonumentalMistake surged and went viral after Patagonia updated its homepage and sent out this tweet.with the simple yet striking black background with white text. This campaign was unfolding at the time Porter Novelli/Cone’s purpose study was developing. It was determined the majority of interactions were in favor of Patagonia and its mission. In addition, while the company has not disclosed exact figures, all signs point to Patagonia’s $1 billion revenue growing.

A lot of messages from a lot of companies are being sent every day. Examples like Patagonia only strengthen the notion that purpose, authenticity and strong messaging build loyal followers. One key takeaway from Porter Novelli/Cone’s Feeling Purpose webinar held this week was: Don’t be afraid to share your organization’s values – because your movement is theirs too.

So, be authentic and try a trust fall. There may be a lot of customers ready to support your organization’s values, and products.

Image credit: BLM/Flickr

Sarah Peyok headshot

Based in Michigan, Sarah is passionate about sustainability, storytelling and bringing to light sustainability principles that can be threaded into business strategies and communications. Formerly an editor for CSRwire and freelance writer for many organizations forwarding the principles of corporate social responsibility and circularity, she is excited to be a contributor to TriplePundit. Connect with Sarah on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Read more stories by Sarah Peyok