Building Trust, Not Just Brand Recognition

January 2021

Photograph: Getty Images

Before my recent move to temporary housing, I gave away all of my gently worn dinnerware … except for a few favorite mugs that, unlike others, keep my tea hot and four pasta bowls that proved indestructible. I’ve since been searching online for the perfect replacement dinnerware set for use in my new forever home that is due to be ready this summer.

I’ve been fervently researching mass-produced dinnerware to assure a purchase that will hold up for many years. It seems high-fired porcelain is most durable for everyday use, and some brands promise their dinnerware can be used in the oven and freezer. Another requirement: It should be free from toxic compounds. (Did you know that prior to 1972, some U.S.A.-made Fiesta Ware was radioactive due to certain red glazes containing uranium oxide?!) 

The brands that promise to meet my criteria are slightly over my budget, so they’ll need to lure me with compelling reasons to purchase them. Enter good online marketing efforts and brands that build trust, not just brand recognition. 

Here’s what two select brands did to build trust, and tug at my heart and purse strings.

Fiesta Ware, Newell, West Virginia

In addition to a webpage on sustainability stating the company’s pledge to customers, natural resources and the environment (key motivators for today’s buyers), I found a blog on the benefits of supporting American manufacturing. (Fiesta Ware: Give this topic more presence on your home page.) The blog contained a picture of the production line showing how this ceramic-glazed dinnerware is made. There was one picture of a worker handling the product. The imagery offered only a glimpse of the people behind the product. A stronger human connection that can be made through the use of visuals may help.

Pillivuyt Porcelaine, Berry region of France

Every shopper wants to read a gripping story, and the nav bar provided quick access to The Pillivuyt Factory history and the company’s guarantees for this high-fired porcelain manufacturer. The page featured a compelling video that skillfully lifts the curtain up on the detailed work done by the craftspeople in the factory. After viewing the video, reading the specifications and picking a pattern, there’s little more this site needs to provide … and they smartly succeed in refraining from adding too much information, which would have detracted from focusing on the legacy and quality of the product.

People want content that provides real value and has emotional appeal. There likely are wonderful stories to tell about your team, how your products or services are created, or how they help solve problems in your industry or community. Sharing your company’s core values and mission on websites through imagery, blog posts and other content enables you to become not only recognized, but, more importantly, a trusted resource.

—Maureen Joyce