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You Can Build Customer Trust With Values-Based Marketing – Here’s How

Saying what we do is not enough. Our marketing needs to also say why we do it and what we stand for.

Two people write values-based marketing strategies on a keyboard
We build trust by being honest, helpful and relevant, providing information our customers and others need to make the right decisions for their company and community. [Nicolas Gavet / Salesforce]

Trust is the connective tissue between a brand and its customers. Marketers play a special role in building trusted relationships because we are in many ways the face and voice of the brand. Everything we say – and do – as marketers is an opportunity to build or destroy trust. That’s why values-based marketing is important.

Values-based marketing is more crucial than ever as we near Year Three of the pandemic. In Salesforce’s State of the Connected Customer report, we found that 74% of customers say a brand communicating honestly and transparently is more important now than before COVID-19. 

Our research also finds that nearly two-thirds of business decision makers actively research a vendor’s values in the consideration stage, and half consider values a differentiator when making their final vendor selection. So talking about values has real purpose — it’s news that customers and prospects actually need.

Salesforce’s marketing team is now prioritizing values along with products. We are communicating what we stand for and the actions we’re taking to live our values. That helps people understand who we fundamentally are as a company and what we’re like as a partner.

Nearly two-thirds of business decision makers actively research a vendor’s values in the consideration stage.

With that, here are five ways we lead with values in our marketing. We hope you can find these strategies useful in your own communications as well.

  1. We publicly hold ourselves accountable for living our values. You may have seen our high-profile Team Earth campaign featuring Matthew McConaughey. By discussing our values on big stages such as the Super Bowl and Olympics, we invite others to hold us accountable for truly living our beliefs in trust, equality, and sustainability.
  2. We strive to communicate with integrity, authenticity, and transparency. We share our values with the world because we know they are important to our stakeholders. We build trust by being honest, helpful and relevant, providing information our customers and others need to make the right decisions for their company and community.
  1. We practice inclusive marketing. That means our storytelling reflects the diverse communities that we serve. It includes people of all backgrounds, no matter their race, ethnicity, gender, ability, age, sexual orientation, or religion. We challenge stereotypes and inspire people to be the best they can be.

We use a method called counter-stereotyping that portrays people in roles that challenge prejudices. We want to dispel incorrect perceptions and showcase our belief that anyone can do anything. We keep accessibility front of mind for how our content is consumed, too. For example, all images in our content must meet accessibility standards, which include acceptable colors and fonts, plus alt text for images and closed captioning for videos.

  1. We lead with sustainable marketing. Our events marketing team uses QR codes that direct to downloadable schedules and content (instead of handing out paper programs). We give eco-conscious gifts. And recipients must opt in to direct mail (less paper, more digital).
  2. We’re building a safe future for consumer data. The technology world is changing at breakneck speed, and while innovation is great, sometimes it’s hard to keep up. That can turn into unfair and even dangerous situations.

We are taking all possible steps to eliminate algorithmic bias in artificial intelligence, and we’re also protecting user privacy. Our principal architect of ethical AI practice, Kathy Baxter, blogs about these topics to keep our community up to speed on best practices.  

Relationships built on values and trust benefit everyone and lead to progress toward the sustainable and fair world we all want. 

Our values-based marketing also prepares our community for the industry and technology shifts that are happening now and coming our way. These include Apple’s privacy changes, the new era of marketing analytics, and more. We want our customers and partners to know what steps to take to be successful and safe. 

The bottom line is that relationships built on values and trust benefit everyone and lead to progress toward the sustainable and fair world we all want. We can live our highest purpose as marketers by building trust through communicating our values with integrity and building values into everything we do.

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