In a study of over 2,100 women nationwide, SheSpeaks set out to understand how significant the trust deficit is among women, and what impact it has on brand perceptions and loyalty.
More than 80% of women claim to distrust the news media, citing "inadequate fact checking" and "political bias" as the primary causes. When asked about their trust in advertising, the response was similarly distrustful: 80% of women say they don't trust ads.
"Persistent negativity in politics and the media is creating a loss of faith among consumers," says Kristi Faulkner, president of Womenkind. "Brand messages are viewed through a skeptic's lens, and brands have to work harder than ever to be perceived favorably."
The main reason brands are not trustworthy, according to 61% of women, is that they don't live up to the promises they make.
However, women are convinced that social media keeps brands honest, as it has emboldened consumers to speak their minds about brands. 88% of women believe that companies can't get away with as much as they would like to these days because of it.
"The ability to go public immediately with a bad customer service or product experience gives women a powerful sense of reassurance that brands will act in good faith because they will be called out if they don't," says Janie Curtis, Strategic Director at Womenkind.
Indeed, 79% of women say that the demonstrated commitment to doing the right thing drives a brand's trustworthiness.
The survey also revealed that women are not likely to trust a company or brand just because of its longevity. Whereas 44% of women surveyed said that they were more likely to trust companies that had been around a long time, almost twice as many (71%) said that the use of quality ingredients and the production of quality products lead to greater trust levels.
"Our study's findings are good news for young or emerging brands who have quality products to offer female shoppers," said Aliza Freud, CEO of SheSpeaks, "Women are much more likely to purchase a brand that is transparent with product ingredients vs. one that has just been around for a long time."
Women also say trust matters to them more than it does to men, and only 1% believe that it matters to men more.
Women offered five ways companies can increase the trust women have in their brands. Not surprisingly, #1 is to live up to their promises and prove themselves worthy of a woman's trust. Providing good customer service, using quality ingredients, treating employees well and transparency were the others.