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STAMFORD, Conn., December 1, 2020

Gartner Identifies Three Steps CMOs Can Take to Boost Brand Trust

Analysts Discuss Improving Brand Trust by Demonstrating Dependability at the Virtual Gartner Marketing Symposium/Xpo 2020 Americas, December 1-3

Chief marketing officers (CMOs) must focus on building trust as 57% of consumers reported they lacked trust in U.S. brands, according to a recent survey by Gartner, Inc. 

“In the midst of dire loss of trust, marketing leaders hope to differentiate themselves by improving brand trust,” said Carlos Guerrero, senior advisor in the Gartner Marketing practice. “This is challenging, however, as customers’ expectations of brands are higher than it’s ever been. In fact, 74% of customers have higher expectations from brands today. Those expectations are not limited to product performance or durability, but also in terms of how brands treat their customers, their employees and the environment.” 

During his session today at the Gartner Marketing Symposium/Xpo, taking place virtually in the Americas December 1-3, 2020,  Mr. Guerrero said that to achieve increased customer trust, brands focus on conveying authenticity and warmth, but Gartner research indicates that the strongest driver of trust is dependability.

“Dependability is a customer’s belief that a brand will in fact deliver on all promised value and will consistently make the choice to do so, even when a financial or accountability incentive is lacking,”  said Mr. Guerrero.

Marketers can demonstrate dependability in three of the following ways. 

Remove Trust-Eroding Pain Points 

Customer pain is an obvious source of customer dissatisfaction and removing that pain can build trust. To do this, CMOs should identify and prioritize any incidents that hinder the ability to follow through on core brand promises made to customers. This will help organizations efficiently allocate resources and align internal stakeholders around the operational next steps needed to improve trust-building initiatives.

Highlight Current Value

Once trust-eroding pain points in the customer experience have been addressed, CMOs must work to amplify their dependability by highlighting the current value their brand is already providing. Doing so will reassure customers that they made the right decision. 

"The value a brand provides may go unnoticed or underappreciated if the marketing function doesn’t broadcast it to customers,” said Guerrero. “Marketers must highlight current successful delivery of value to customers using examples in marketing content, increasing visibility and boosting confidence in value exchange.”

Provide New Value in Key Customer Moments

Progressive CMOs who have addressed trust-eroding pain points and are already highlighting current value can extend their value proposition by providing new value during moments of heightened emotion or attention, of uncertainty, or when alternatives may be considered. In doing so, brands bolster their perceived dependability through demonstration of a wider-than-expected capability set.

Gartner for Marketers clients can learn more in “Improving Brand Trust in Untrusting Times” and “Showcase: Tactics for Improving Brand Trust in Untrusting Times.”

About the Gartner Marketing Symposium/Xpo

Gartner analysts are providing additional insights during Gartner Marketing Symposium/Xpo, taking place virtually, December 1-3, 2020. The conference provides marketing leaders actionable advice about the trends, tools and emerging technologies they need to deliver business results. Gartner analysts address the biggest opportunities, challenges and priorities marketers face today, including data and analytics, customer experience, content marketing, customer insight, marketing technology (martech) and multichannel marketing. Follow news and updates for the event on Twitter at #GartnerMKTG.

About Gartner for Marketers

Gartner for Marketers provides the objective, expert advice and proven tools that CMOs and other marketing leaders need to seize the right opportunities with clarity and confidence, and to stay ahead of the trends that matter. With in-depth research and analysis, Gartner for Marketers helps you focus on the opportunities with the greatest potential to deliver results. More information on Gartner for Marketers is available online at Follow news and updates from the Gartner Marketing practice on Twitter and LinkedIn using #GartnerMKTG.

About Gartner

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) delivers actionable, objective insight to executives and their teams. Our expert guidance and tools enable faster, smarter decisions and stronger performance on an organization’s mission critical priorities. To learn more, visit