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A plan for fostering trust in your brand

Everybody wants more business: More customers, more referrals, more profit. And if you don’t want more business, you want better business. But none of that will happen if there's no trust in your brand.
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I’m asked often about the best way to create all of this. As if it’s that simple, right? Well, in fact, it might be simpler than you think. There is one universal tenet that will work to enhance all of these areas for every type of business, and that is when you go about fostering trust in your brand.

Earn your target audience’s trust, and you will see a notable increase in your brand’s awareness, reputation…and yes, business. So how can make this happen for your brand? I have some specific advice that has worked for my brand, and for all the brands I consult for on a daily basis.

Keep promises: This might seem like a no-brainer; however, in many cases, busy businesspeople resort to dealing with only those issues they deem as crucial in the moment, allowing others to fall by the roadside. When, in fact, it is crucial that you keep every promise you make, no matter how insignificant it may seem. You are being judged daily. Do you deliver? And if so, do you deliver ahead of schedule, or in a greater capacity than is expected? If you said yes, you’re building trust in your brand.

Demonstrate expertise: This is a show-don’t-tell proposition. It’s not as simple as publishing your CV and hanging awards on your wall; instead, it’s about finding the people who are suffering with the problem(s) you solve and freely offering expert advice that works. Do this consistently, and it won’t take long for word to get around — word that you can be trusted because you know what you’re doing and that you really do help people.

Publish testimonials: BrightLocal reports that more than 88 per cent of consumers consult with published reviews to make purchasing decisions regarding local businesses. This is surprising, mostly because one might believe that family and friends would be go-to sources for reviews of local businesses. Now, imagine how important the testimonial is when consumers are looking for reviews of a business (or product) outside their geographical area.

The moral of this story circulates around the old parking lot theory: If the restaurant’s parking lot is empty, nobody’s going to stop in. If it’s full, they’ll wait in line to be seated. Ask your very best (and most loyal) clients to write testimonials for your business, and publish them on your website where they can be easily found. If you’re selling a product, ask your satisfied customers to publish reviews in the marketplace. They won’t usually take the initiative to do this without being asked, and are often flattered and willing to oblige.

Be consistent: Building trust in your brand isn’t always about truth. Often, it’s about a customer knowing what to expect next. That’s why, when you create a brand strategy, I encourage you to audit your business on a regular basis, to make sure that you and all team members are operating under the umbrella of that strategy—in procedure, language and the demonstration of corporate values. This isn’t to say your customers should never be treated to a surprise; however, they should never be surprised that it came from your brand.

Stop trying to appear perfect: When you are authentic, people are more likely to trust you. When you’re “real” with people, they will believe that you’re an honest person, and that your brand isn’t aiming to hide anything from them. And it’s the small things: Admit to mistakes, create a video without wearing make-up or invite people to laugh at something silly you did. This will endear people to you and your brand, as well as build trust in your authenticity.

I trust that these little pieces of advice have gotten your gears grinding, thinking about the ways you can build trust in your brand…for more and better business.

The advice doesn’t stop here. Check into the How to Build a Brand website for the full menu of brand-building resources we have made available to you, including the B.R.A.N.D. Building Bootcamps, Master Your Message™ events, the B.R.A.N.D. Accelerator programme, the B.R.A.N.D. Building Club, free downloadable guides, a free book chapter and so much more.

Written by Sammy Blindell of How to Build a Brand

Image: Shutterstock

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