The more our customer base trusts us, the more likely they are to interact with and recommend us. A recognizable household name used to be enough a long time ago. But today, a brand must have a badge of earned trust at its shirt as modern consumers differ from those of the past. Reputation is everything. It is built over time very carefully and is not earned overnight. At first, we will not have the prior track record to back us up and will have to rely solely on our words and delivering promises to customers. Trust is not built in a vacuum. It is about communication, consistency and understanding our clients and their needs. It takes time, know-how and a lot of patience to successfully employ the strategies of building trust with our customer base. Here are some of those strategies.
Value in content
Content that we are offering is the bread and butter of our and any business. Good, quality content can do a lot for us. Everywhere we present our brand and product, whether it be on our website, blog or a social media platform, our content needs to be meaningful. To figure out what type of content would benefit our brand, we can always do the necessary research, starting with our competition. There are always some things they have left a gap in or something that we can do better. Our content can always be more detailed, engaging and better overall. It will set us apart from the others and eventually establish us as the authority in the industry. Most of our content should be useful in a non-promotional way, while the smaller portion can be used to talk about our product or brand. As for the ratio between the two, it comes down to the 80/20 rule or the Pareto principle. Our content should be 80% non-promotional and only about 20% promotional. Such a ratio will engage consumers and establish a sense of professionalism without giving off the impression of trying to cram as much advertisement as possible. Consumer’s needs are a priority for us and that needs to be clear to everyone involved. When writing a blog, creating multimedia content like podcasts, pictures, and video or posting on social media platforms it is something to keep in mind. Think of providing reliable, insightful and valuable content, rather than a sales pitch. It is the key to building a sense of trust in our brand.
Communication, a two-way road
The nature of today’s market is such that it often necessitates engagement on both sides and a relationship. Sometimes it is mandatory, for example, if we are selling a product or service that requires regular support on our part. Such communication goes through dedicated channels, like support emails or call-centers for a more direct exchange. For other needs, social media platforms are a great way for modern companies to respond individually to clients. With such direct, one-on-one exchanges people are able to see the human face behind a business and a brand. This helps build our mouth-to-mouth marketing and by doing that, it is one of the best strategies to quickly establish and retain trust. And let’s not forget, we are talking about the era of social media platforms. If one customer is satisfied with the exchange we have conducted, it can quickly go viral and generate positive coverage. Customer engagement means regular interaction. A solid, up to date and regular presence on social media is paramount. People like routines. Regular posting, in strict time intervals like each day or so, is a great way to build trust and give the sense that we are on top of our game. It does require constant attention and maintenance. We need to monitor our pages and individual posts for comments, questions, and complaints. These need to be addressed appropriately and expeditiously. We can even take it to another level and be proactive by starting conversations with consumers to build a relationship as early as possible.
Experience, rather than a product
What is considered to be traditional marketing tactics and principles are mostly obsolete nowadays. With the economy being largely globalized, there is always someone, somewhere offering exactly what we are. A need to create something more presents itself. A brand is not created solely by marketers, but by clients, consumers and people in general. We need to provide them with a context to do so. Instead of simply selling a product or service, we need to offer something more, an entire experience. Some of the best ways to go on about it are organizing authentic events surrounding our brand and offerings. What we are offering needs to be a part of something bigger and greater than the sum of its parts. Something that people can get behind and extract great value from. What that might be we will leave to individual cases as they differ from one another based on a multitude of factors. A good way for a business in any industry to link together all manufactured experiences together is to create a recognizable trademark. For further information on how to go on about it, we can always consult professionals like the Actuate IP.
Customers need to be encouraged to give reviews of our products and services online. Of course, this means that we are absolutely sure of the quality of our offering. Never the less, even a negative review can be turned around and used as an opportunity. After all, we are representing a company made of people that make mistakes and are not able to satisfy every single individual in the world. A few negative reviews make our company transparent, organic and more human. We can use these opportunities to demonstrate or responsiveness and inclination to work on ourselves and our customers in order to remedy a negative experience into a positive one. By encouraging reviews, we are demonstrating that our brand values and cares about what our customers think. It also shows that we are confident in the quality of what we are offering, up to a very small margin for error. A consumer will often check the quality of a potential purchase however he can before he commits to it. The closer we are to a five-star rating the better we will fare in the eyes of the public.
Going outside of a lane that a business has found its place in can lead to its downfall. This goes for all aspects of our brand. Our logo, brand colors, personality and many more need to be consistent in everything we do and say. Our clients expect our message and experience that we provide to be clear, concise and to the point. Deviating too much from those principles can quickly tire our clients and make them feel overwhelmed with unnecessary additional information. Being consistent is a great way of building brand awareness and recognition. The reason being is that, if done right, people will start to recognize our brand’s unique style. We can list three basic parts of a consistent brand. Our message, design, and delivery. Our message is an extension of our actions and behavior. It needs to be perfectly in line with what we are and what we are doing. People need to believe it in order to believe us. It develops our image in the public’s eye, so we need to consider it carefully. Consistent design patterns like our logos, website, social media pages and printable materials are also important. When customers see any of these, they need to know from where it came from without second-guessing. How we handle the delivery of all aspects of our business is half of the experience. How and over what platforms will we communicate with our audience depends on what will offer us the greatest return on investment (ROI).
Much in the way we spoke about offering an experience as opposed to a product, we also need to think about value. When customers do business with us, they do it because they expect to take something away with them. They are looking to add value to their lives in some shape and form. The more they take with them the more our brand will become an integral part of their lives. To let someone into their home requires a lot of trusts and that is exactly what we will be building with our customers.
Building a brand is one of the most important things we can do for our new or existing business. A good strategy can mean the difference between remaining a small player or a strong competitor. Trust is arguably the most important step to go over on our way there. It will not be easy or quick but if we can deliver a positive experience to a selected audience, over time we will get there. Providing additional value through compelling content and interaction with the customers is essential to building a brand that people can trust and recommend.
Nick is a blogger and a marketing expert currently engaged on projects for Media Gurus, an Australian business, and marketing resource. He is an aspiring street artist and does Audio/Video editing as a hobby