Research on Decline of Brand Trust The purpose of Lantieri & Chiagouris’ (2009) research paper, “Brand trust in an age without trust: expert opinions,” is to describe major reasons for brand mistrust in recent times and propose recommendations – based on the same reasons – for managers to enhance brand trust.
As several studies have shown that brand trust is on the decline, the authors would like to identify the chief reasons for this business trend in order to support managerial strategies to reverse it. Although Lantieri & Chiagouris mention studies showing that brand trust is on the decline, they have not conducted an effective literature review on the concept of brand trust for the reader to compare the reasons for brand trust with reasons for brand mistrust. Lantieri & Chiagouris could have explained brand trust with the concept of consumer commitment. Bansal, Irving & Taylor (2004) define commitment as an attitude. Relating commitment to trust, the authors state that it takes trust to switch service providers before a binding commitment can be made (Bansal, Irving & Taylor). Ingram, Skinner & Taylor (2005) mention “perceived fairness” in the customer-supplier relationship to explain consumer commitment (p. 240).
Customers must be told the truth in direct mailings and other marketing literature (Ingram et. al., p. 239).
If “[p]erceived fairness is positively related to customer satisfaction,” as hypothesized by Ingram et. al., direct mailings and loyalty programs must be meaningless if customers believe that the supplier is unethical in his or her approach to conducting business (Ingram et. al., p. 242).
Ingram et. al. further hypothesize that “[c]ustomer commitment is positively related to ethical expectations” (p.
242). At the same time, a “higher level of customer commitment moderates the relationship between perceived magnitude of harm and perceived fairness by attenuating the strength of the relationship” (Ingram et. al., p. 242).
To put it another way, even unethical companies may be trusted by their committed customers. Even though the concept of brand trust is intrinsically tied to consumer commitment, Lantieri & Chiagouris do not mention the latter at all. Thus, their research merely adds value to literature on brand mistrust.
The authors interviewed 20 marketing experts on the telephone to find out major reasons for lack of brand trust. They consulted various sources to develop “a semi-structured discussion guide” for the interviews (Lantieri & Chiagouris, p. 79).
Just the same, they failed to mention these sources in their paper. In fact, the authors do not even describe the discussion guide for the reader to evaluate whether or not the interviews were appropriately conducted. Therefore, the reader is free to surmise that the interviewers may have asked leading questions to develop their research on brand mistrust according to their own expectations of the results of this study. The interviewees were informed two weeks before their scheduled interviews that they would be questioned about trends in brand trust.
As all experts chosen for this research had many years of work experience with the concept, they must have analyzed trends in brand trust before their interviews. Thus, their expert opinions can be trusted by the reader. The interviewers had recorded the answers given by the experts. But, Lantieri & Chiagouris have not attached the transcripts to their paper. The authors merely inform the reader that they have identified common themes to come up with their list of major reasons for brand mistrust in recent times.
To help their readers deepen their understanding of brand mistrust, Lantieri & Chiagouris could also have provided a comprehensive list consisting of all reasons identified through their research before explaining the chief reasons or common themes. While explaining the common themes, the authors provide excerpts from interview transcripts. This is useful in furthering the reader’s understanding of the research. After all, the conclusions drawn by Lantieri & Chiagouris are based on the interviews alone. The final sections of their paper are entitled, “Implications for marketing and brand managers” and “Implications for future research.” None of these sections are backed by secondary research. Rather, the authors only analyze information gathered through the interviews through these sections of their paper. “Implications for marketing and brand managers” has various recommendations to reverse the trend of brand mistrust.
As recommended strategies are not backed by secondary research, the reader may want to include this limitation in “Implications for future research.” It is not enough for the reader to know, for example, what experts in Lantieri & Chiagouris’ study have briefly stated about customer-supplier relationships. It would have been better for the authors to have mentioned research articles for the reader to consult.
Verhoef (2003) write on the development of professionally-healthy, lucrative, “close relationships” with consumers to induce affective commitment (p. 30). This type of commitment is “based on loyalty and affiliation” (Verhoef, p. 31). Had Lantieri & Chiagouris directed the reader to such studies, their research paper would have added more value to literature on brand trust.REFERENCESBansal, HS, Irving, PG & Taylor, SF 2004, ‘A Three-Component Model of CustomerCommitment to Service Providers,’ Academy of Marketing Science, Summer 2004, vol.
32, number 3, p. 234-25.1.Ingram, R, Skinner, SJ & Taylor, VA 2005, ‘Consumer’s Evaluation of Unethical MarketingBehaviors: The Role of Consumer Commitment,’ Journal of Business Ethics, vol.
62, p. 237-252.Lantieri, T, & Chiagouris, L 2009, ‘Brand trust in an age without trust: expert opinions,’ Journalof Consumer Marketing, vol. 26, number 2, p. 78-86.Verhoef, PC 2003, ‘Understanding the Effect of Consumer Relationship Management Efforts onCustomer Retention and Customer Share Development,’ Journal of Marketing, vol. 67, pp.