According to our Earned Brand study, innovation is moving at an unprecedented fast pace and consumers have grown increasingly skeptical and critical of brands that innovate. Before consumers can be inspired to accept innovation, they must first be reassured. They need to know the brand’s motives for innovating and have confidence that the innovation will have personal and societal benefits. Today, consumers rely on peer-to-peer conversation for reassurance. Marketers and communicators can stimulate that conversation.

At our recent Earned Brand event in Chicago, Richard Edelman presented these findings to an audience of more than 65 marketing and communications executives across health, financial services, consumer packaged goods, media and other industries. Afterwards, we had a robust panel discussion moderated by Amanda Glasgow, U.S. consumer practice chair, at which we heard the following point of views on earning conversation and building trust in an innovative world.

Colette LaForce: As marketers, we need to explain what we are doing and why we are innovating. With peer-to-peer conversations playing a huge role in consumers’ decisions, brands need to be helping to guide these conversations. Colette LaForce is the chief marketing officer for*

John Tucker: Trunk Club’s brand is built on the individual relationships we have with each of our customers. We care, we listen, we know them, we do work on their behalf, we make their lives easier, they trust us. If we do all of that better than anyone else, we win. John Tucker is co-founder and vice president of member experience for Trunk Club.

James Warren: We’re in the business of innovation. Most people hate change. It is our job to do what we can to make them comfortable with change. We need to find the core attributes that will get people over this hump and focus on those. James Warren is the chief media correspondent of Poynter Institute and national political columnist, U.S. News & World Report.

Craig Wortmann: These data present a huge opportunity for brands to focus on reassurance. Brands need to hire for this – they need to bring in people who are willing to push the boundaries and take risks in order to move the needle in communicating to consumers. Craig Wortmann is a clinical professor of entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Beth Engelmann is general manager of the consumer marketing practice in Chicago.

*Edelman client