A brand’s credibility is probably its most important asset. If your brand evokes positive feelings in the customer base and perhaps even in the industry as a whole, it can significantly increase lead generation, foster positive word-of-mouth, and generate interest.
By EMMA WORDEN
An overwhelming majority of consumers cite authenticity and trust as the main reasons they support brands. So, building them up is a good step towards building lasting credibility. In turn, this will allow you to become more authoritative in the market.
Of course, higher credibility means that you’ll have more responsibility to maintain the projected image as consumers can be much less forgiving of mistakes from brands they trust.
Here are some tips on how to develop your brand’s credibility and make it a part of its identity:
Trust is the major driver of credibility and loyalty for your brand. However, customers tend to believe each other more than any brand message or advertisement. One way to overcome the inherent skepticism is by engaging in transparent practices that will show you’re doing business honestly.
You want to be straightforward in all your communications, no matter the source. Being confusing because you’re using too much technical jargon or ambiguous statements will only lower the amount of trust you enjoy.
The basic principle of trust is consistency and delivering on what you promised. Provide your customers with consistent quality and ensure your products or services are reliable. Offering warranties or money-back guarantees goes a long way to convincing people you’re confident in your performance.
Be receptive to feedback
A great way to ensure your customers trust you is to listen to them and take their feedback into account. Be available and responsive across all relevant social media channels or at least redirect them to functional lines of support.
Being personable is a valuable trait, and many brands are establishing personified mascots and/or social media accounts in order to create a feeling of closeness with their target demographic. So, make sure contact information is clearly visible and try to be consistently accessible and reliable. Trying to cover too many channels can lead to variance in quality, which will cause brand trust to suffer. Focus on your core demographic and their primary methods of communication and answer queries promptly. That will increase your overall likeability, which is a great building block for trust and credibility.
Protect your clients’ personal information
The perception of security is another important building block of credibility. Any kind of online presence and interaction with customers (prospective or current) necessitates making sure all their information is secure. By making sure all of your security certificates and transfer protocols are up to date, you’re not only improving your security and google rankings, but you’re also improving the perception of your brand as a secure and legitimate business.
Most regular users won’t know or care what TLS and HTTPS stand for, but they’ll recognize the green padlock as a sign their information is safe. Conversely, they’ll turn away from a website they deem unsafe. It’s pretty clear which model will be seen as more credible.
Humanize your brand
If you want to develop a brand strategy well, you need to know what your target audience cares about and what they consider meaningful. It’s no longer enough for a brand to “care about its customers.” Brands need to care about the causes and concerns of the customers themselves.
Once you’ve identified what your customers consider meaningful, you need to start publishing or sponsoring content that will align with that message and present your brand as an authoritative source of information on those topics. That way, you’ll make it easier for your customers to make decisions, and hopefully, their decisions will align with your interests.
It’s important to note that this needs to be a long-term strategy. We mentioned being consistent as a key method of building trust, and if you change your stated mission every time there’s a hot new thing on the market, you will only erode it and build a reputation as a weathervane company without any real principles. Think long and hard about what you want to achieve in the long term, and only pivot if you absolutely have to.
Some of these methods and trends have been around for a while now, while others are relatively new. But they’re all still relevant and will continue to be so in the upcoming years.
However, just because you’ve started implementing some (or even all) of these practices, that doesn’t mean your work is done. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve noticed that all of them require constant engagement and adaptability. You need to be in tune with the market and the customers and be constantly responsive to their needs.
The process can be likened to telling an ongoing story. You want your brand to remain credible and relatable. You don’t want its story to end or to become stale. You need to make it memorable and evergreen. And if it’s not that? You need to change it.
Emma is a digital marketer and blogger from Sydney. After getting a marketing degree she started working with Australian startups on business and marketing development. Emma writes for many relevant, industry related online publications and does a job of an Executive Editor at Bizzmark blog and a guest lecturer at Melbourne University. Interested in marketing, startups and latest business trends. Follow Emma on Twitter @EmmaRWorden