The effect of fake news on brands – how to build trust and repel attacks in the legal sector

Establishing trust is difficult if you operate in the medical, legal, or scientific sectors. That’s because the consequences of a mistake could have a devastating effect on the end-consumer. Buying a hoover that fails to pick up dust sucks (actually it doesn’t – and that’s the point). But it’s not the same as having the wrong leg amputated – or losing an injury claim because your lawyer failed to file the right paperwork on time.

As if building a reputable practice isn’t hard enough already, professional services firms like yours also need to worry about the effect of fake news on brands – a trend not entirely new but which has spread like wildfire since the advent of the internet.

Do law firms really need to worry about the effect of fake news on brands? True, it’s the big hitters that tend to fall foul of widespread misinformation. But this has a knock-on effect that tarnishes consumers’ views of brands in general.

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How does fake news destroy consumer trust in brands?

In 2016 (tellingly just before the presidential election) a rumour swept the internet claiming Pepsi’s incumbent CEO had told Trump supporters to take their business elsewhere.

Starbucks also fell foul of a fake promotion that went viral and which promised to give significant discounts to unverified American immigrants – a fire that proved hard to extinguish.

The effect of fake news on brands directly is clear: global businesses must invest time, money, and resources into diffusing misinformation spread by digital saboteurs.

As for the effect on your firm, it must work harder to instil trust in its audience – who will need much convincing before parting with their hard-earned money.

How to win the war of misinformation and turn cautious consumers into die-hard brand advocates

Here are three tactics you can put into play to diffuse the effect of fake news on brands and build rapport with your target audience.

Provide social proof

And by social proof we don’t mean glowing testimonials. How many times have you seen the statement ‘5,000 customers rated as Excellent on TrustPilot’? Such phrases are rolled out with such regularity they’ve become clichés and have little if any impact on their audiences.

Testimonials can be faked too. So, if you want to stand out from the also-ran crowd, create in-depth case studies that feature… 

  • candid images of your clients 
  • a detailed breakdown of:
    • what you did
    • why you did it
    • how you did it
  • evidence-backed data 

Turning your case study into a video is a great way to combat consumer doubt – and you can repurpose that content by turning the script into a blog or adding sections to guides, brochures, and other digital collateral.

Enlist the help of influencers

Fight back against the effect of fake news on brands by hiring influencers? Understandably this might irk some law firms – albeit it the kind that still rely on manual filing systems, write with quill pens, and answer to a CEO by the name of Ebenezer.

Forward thinking firms on the other hand (like yours) recognise that influencers have already overcome the issue of trust – and are adored by their hundreds of thousands – or in some cases, millions – of followers.

By association your brand will become more credible when endorsed by an online celebrity, provided they are known within your sector and can introduce you to the right people.

Stop being disruptive

Disruption is about challenging established ideas with the aim of changing customer perception of your brand or, more generally, the industry you operate in.

An example might include using humour to break down boundaries by showing off your zany sense of humour. But how will this counter the effect of fake news on brands?

Showing your funny side might make people laugh but it won’t build trust and could even have the opposite effect. Why should customers take you seriously when your stance is comedic?

Instead, focus on being authentic and relevant. Do this for long enough and you’ll not only find your take – but build strong and rewarding relationships with customers who’ll sing your praises.


You can put your trust in us…

Take your brand next level by booking a free consultation with one of our digital marketing experts and make fake news a thing of the past.

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