Discourse analysis, trust and marketing

Sue Halliday, Maurizio Catulli

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter demonstrates the relevance of looking at discursive construction of trust in the marketing context. Consumers and users of goods and services want confidence in the transaction and this can build into ongoing relationships whereby customers will return to the supplier rather than switch supplier between transactions.
Confidence creation is a relatively common tool for marketers to include in their relationship marketing plans. Yet the topic is rarely examined as a discursive process. We make the argument that discursive processes of trust, entrustment and trustworthiness are a central aspect of marketing relationships with themes such as identity, legitimacy, and transparency, even conflict of interest and manipulation– the dark side of trust.
Relationships are the outcome of these processes as they reduce risk. Reputation/brand building is a relational marketing task, which reduces customer risk by demonstrating trustworthiness and calling forth trust in the expertise of the healthcare worker or the marketing consultant or salesperson. In this way risk is mitigated by knowledge of organizational reputation/brand or by personal knowledge of the actual service encounter personnel. This knowledge enables initial trust to be placed and various service encounters may then foster and build trust. The service encounter is where the supplier and customer meet, and so is the focus of marketing effort.
A critical literature review addresses both beneficial aspects of relational marketing and the ‘dark side’ of calls to entrust. Case studies provide discourses from purchasers of service from two related settings where there is choice of supplier and opportunity for relationship building through the service encounter
We present a narrative analysis of shared, interactively created organized by the themes noted above, assisted by qualitative analysis software. Our analysis is based on the understanding that all actors are situated in particular interactions within social, cultural and institutional discourses . This analysis concludes with insight into how trust processes create value for consumers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDiscourses of Trust
EditorsChristopher Candlin, Jonathan Crichton
Place of PublicationBasingstoke UK
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Print)023030849X, 978-0230308497
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in Professional and Organizational Discourse


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