Building trust is important for any healthy relationship, and it’s something that should be at the core of your brand and its values. Any relationship counsellor will tell you that without trust, the relationship is bound to fail. As a company, you should view your relationship with your staff and your customers in the same way…
Building and Maintaining Trust in your Business via your Brand Strategy
We touched on this last month and our new blog explores the importance of trust and how to develop it via your brand, in more detail.
The past six months have ably demonstrated that those companies who set out to help their clients, customers and communities and were transparent about how they were making their services Covid-safe, have gained the trust of old and new clients alike.
Building trust in your brand and its values will enable you to make sales, retain clients and create a cycle of successful business transactions – repeat business, loyalty and referrals.
Before a company owner can tell potential clients about the business, he or she needs to be clear about what the brand is, what it represents, and where it’s going. A brand strategy will help to create a continuity, which will make customers feel safe, and encourage trust in your brand.
However, it can’t happen in isolation and must be part of a holistic plan and herein lies the importance of your brand strategy.
What is a Brand Strategy?
Your brand strategy tells customers, potential clients and competitors what you are about. It should answer all of the questions about your brand, such as who, what, why, where and when. As we have been saying for many years, your brand is far more than just a logo – it should convey your company’s attitude and ensure that you always meet (at least) the expectations of your customers.
There are four key reasons for formulating a brand strategy:
- Added value
Your brand is what differentiates you from your competitors – it’s your USP (this is the company’s unique selling proposition, or sometimes referred to as the unique selling point). It is what will make you stand out from the crowd.
This USP may well be the ‘thing’ that builds trust – customers come to you because you offer something that they can’t get from anyone else. To reward that trust, it’s important to continue to offer that USP, to build on it and your relationship with your customers.
Brand strategy identifies what the purpose of the product or service is. It highlights what need or problem it will solve for a customer. It’s not all about hard facts – it’s about an emotional connection. Will the product or service make customers feel happy, content, safe, or relieved? These are the emotions you want to be tapping into. Make this happen for your clients and the trust will start to evolve.
Developing and building upon the emotional ties above can exceed the rational value of the product or service. This is where a customer or client is prepared to pay you more for a given product or service than one of your competitors – because they are loyal to and trust your brand more than any other.
Branding is also an effective way of conveying information, such as introducing a new partnership, ownership, product or service. It is also a powerful way of attracting and retaining staff, investors and customers.
How to Formulate your Brand Strategy
Moreover, when formulating your brand strategy, there are a number of criteria to consider and we will explore some of these in more detail in future articles:
- Brand Purpose
- Brand Vision
- Brand Values
- Mission Statement
- Brand Proposition
- Brand Positioning
- Brand Personality
It may feel a little lofty to consider how your brand will improve the world, but at the very least the brand purpose is the benefit that it will provide. A brand has the potential to represent and emotional quality that goes far beyond the functionality of an individual product or service.
Consider where the company will be in five years’ time – such as who it will be helping and what it will be providing. If you have faith in the long-term success of your brand, so will your clients. To trust a brand, we need to feel secure in the knowledge that it is not going to disappear just when we have started to rely on it emotionally, as well as on its products or services.
It’s also important to share the brand’s vision, so that you can build trust in where the business is going – and so that your stakeholders can share in that vision.
Being transparent about a brand’s values is also vital in building trust. Showing what your company stands for and what you believe in is key. It also dictates what direction the company will take and forms the basis for any future actions that might be taken. If your customers or clients feel they can invest in similar beliefs and values, they will stick with you, and trust will grow. Having a transparent set of brand values also ensures that employees can feel confident in what they represent.
Its sometimes helpful to consider your business’ mission statement as a manifesto or charter. It will bring together the brand purpose, vision and values in a statement making it clear about who you are, what you stand for and what you want to achieve.
You can read a previous blog on the subject here.
The brand proposition develops the USP that we mentioned earlier. It’s important to note that the proposition need not be restricted by any physical attributes of your product or service but can be conveyed through attitude and culture.
Positioning is the art of placing your brand and its benefits at the forefront of your target audience’s mind. Once perception has set in, it can be quite a challenge to change a brand’s position.
Your brand’s personality, or its character, will be determined by its values, behaviours and culture and will be delivered and experienced by its leadership team and its people.
Generally speaking, there is no advantage in trying to be all things to all people. You’ll have heard of ‘niching’ and some of the strongest brands have made a virtue of appealing to a very small and specialised segment of the market. However, you will know your brand and it will be advantageous to spend time profiling and understanding your target audience.
Being available to your clients and prospective clients is a major factor. People want to interact with you – and if you don’t answer their questions or address their issues, they are likely to go elsewhere. In this digital age, people are after instant gratification, so tend to distrust companies that don’t respond promptly to enquiries and queries. How you make yourself available is up to you – depending on the type of business, you may have someone in charge of customer support, you might have social media channels that are consistently monitored – you may even build an online community to raise your profile and offer support.
It’s important to stick to your brand values. If you make your name selling a quality product, switching to an inferior one will lose your customers’ trust in one fell swoop. You should be able to live up to your sales pitch!
To keep your product or service at the quality clients expect, revisit your testing procedure to ensure it is thorough and up to date. You can use various methods, including focus groups and independent testing to make sure that what you are offering does what it says on the tin!
Being honest is vital. If your service isn’t the right fit for a potential client, be transparent about that. You may be able to suggest a work-around to make it fit, but there is no point in pushing something that isn’t right for them. They will end up disappointed and your reputation will be tarnished. Being open and honest shows that you care about your customer more than you care about the sale – there is no greater trust than that!
If you would like to have a chat about your marketing requirements, please call Alison Page on tel: 07963 002065 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can of course browse our website to see what our existing clients have to say about our work.