Recent research by the Global Research Business Network found that 41% of people don’t trust market research companies with their data. Although the reason for this is not difficult to rationalise – the commoditization of personal data, qualms about technology and unethical data use – the real question is how to counter the mistrust.
To change people’s perceptions, something must change in the way market research companies communicate, and the key to consumer trust is for a brand to behave like a human. So market research companies must humanise themselves. Here are some things you can do:
Communication is something that happens between two humans, so you should relish your employees and make sure that they’re in full view. Start with your company website – create an ‘about us’ that reflects not only what you do but also who you are. Employee pages are key to showing people that you have personality. This can be as simple as taking a decent photo and writing a short biography. This shows the world that your company is not made up of cogs and microchips, but of real people with real personalities.
Converse with conviction
Allow your personality to trickle through to other platforms such as social media, media relationships and events. Share photographs of employees being themselves and ensure your leaders express a real personality, rather than read a script. Use humour and encourage employees to get involved. Leave timid corporate communications behind and converse with conviction. Be yourself.
Ensuring that your communication is valuable to your audience helps too. As a market research company with a wealth of knowledge and insight, you’ve got a lot to give, so share it. But when you communicate it, avoid using ‘do not reply’ email addresses, and emails with 3 miles of disclaimer in 5pt font.
Speak out about relevant issues. For example, when the NHS sells its data to insurance companies, have an opinion. Write a blog, tweet and look out for journalists asking for statements on the issue. This would communicate that you’re knowledgeable and concerned about the general public’s data privacy.
Care for your customers
Give your employees on the front line the power and ability to answer your customer’s questions (especially about their data) and sort out any problems. This shows customers that their issues are valued because the employee they are talking to has the power to act upon their problem and is therefore valued by your company. This includes allowing employees to think on their feet – going above and beyond leaves you with a trusting and happy customer.
Escaping from the restraints of corporate communication can be uncomfortable, but the world is changing and people expect companies to be human, like themselves. This comes from within, so think and follow through, and don’t fake it.
If you’re interested in changing the perception of your market research company, please get in touch. We’re a dab hand with communications.