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One Way to Build Trust with Skeptical Consumers

In an increasingly skeptical and mistrusting world, finding ways to gain trust with consumers is vitally important for marketers.

Research suggests that providing competitive information to consumers leads to trust and that trust leads to brand consideration and sales. In an article in the International Journal of Research in Marketing,Guilherme Liberali, Glen L. Urban, and John R. Hauser conduct two field experiments to investigate this belief in the context of the auto industry.

Providing positively valenced competitive information can build trust with less loyal customers, and trust leads to greater brand consideration.

In year 1, an American automaker provided experiential, product-feature, word-of-mouth, and advisor information to consumers in a field experiment that lasted six months. Their analyses suggest that competitive information enhances brand consideration and possibly sales and that the effects are mediated through trust. However, these effects were significant only for positively valenced information.

In a year-2 experiment, they tested whether a signal that the firm was willing to share competitive information would engender trust, brand consideration, and sales. Contrary to many theories, the signal did not achieve these predicted outcomes because, in the year-2 experiment, consumers who already trusted the automaker were more likely to opt in to competitive information.

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Competitive Information, Trust, Brand Consideration and Sales: Two Field Experiments by Guilherme Liberali, Glen L. Urban, and John R. Hauser, International Journal of Research in Marketing (June 2013)

Related links

Consumer Insights: Findings from Behavioral Research
Joseph Alba, ed. (2011) [Book]

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