Building a brand your customers can trust

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Brands live in the mind. Of everyone who experiences them — from customers to employees to the competition, even the media. Encompassing much more than a company’s product, logo, or color theme, a brand is about the customer experience, the company culture, and the ethics a business adheres to.

Even more, it’s about the associated feeling a brand can create in people and inviting them to be part of the ‘family’. We delve into strategies you can employ to create a brilliant brand that your customers will love to trust.


Understanding brand trust

Brand trust is one of the biggest factors in consumer buying decisions. 81% of consumers say they need to trust the brands they buy from, as shared by Oberlo. Just like building a friendship, to earn and build trust with your customers, you need to act with honesty and integrity.

Your brand is your chance to tell a story and communicate your purpose for being in business. Building a brand that your audience can trust — and want to be associated with — is essential to foster loyalty and support long-term financial success.

Here we break down and define the factors involved in finding a unique position in your chosen market — and what it means to build a brilliant customer experience for your target audience. The end goal? Attract and retain returning buyers.


Brand positioning

Critical to fostering trust is communicating your brand’s unique value proposition. How are you different from your competitors? Are you a luxury brand, a budget brand, or somewhere in the middle? The good news is, you get to define the unique position that your brand will occupy in the minds of those you serve. You need to understand your customers, your competition and ensure your brand is positioned as unique, valuable — and importantly, unforgettable.

On average, it takes 5 to 7 impressions for people to remember your brand (Pam Moore), so you need to send a consistent yet dynamic brand message, regularly. It’s about combining various aspects of your business — your product, services, pricing, packaging, social strategies, marketing, and more — to “own” a niche and stand out from the rest in the marketplace. The objective is to create an impression in your customers’ mind so that they associate your brand with something specific and covetable.

Here’s a great guide from HubSpot to help you succeed in brand positioning.


Brand experience

Cultivating an effective and memorable brand experience is a powerful way to foster customer loyalty. In a competitive market, having a positive brand experience can often mean the difference between winning a sale over the competition. Creating an appealing and authentic brand experience will require understanding your customers’ needs and desires.

It’s about having all the right elements in place. Here are some examples:

  • Choosing specific colors, logos, and branding across your website content, social media, and marketing materials to communicate a mood and evoke desired feelings in your audience.

  • Providing quality customer service to give customers a positive experience and the service they expect.

  • Aligning with your local community, public holidays, and wider global events to build a connection.

  • Communicating interesting company news and offering special events and discounts to your loyal customers to help them feel valued.

  • Provide real experiences, such as pop-up stores, collaborations, giveaways, and face-to-face engagement with your employees to create excitement and positive memories with your brand.

This guide from Rock Content can help you to strengthen your brand’s relationship with customers.  


Brand promise

What is the single most important thing that your business delivers? Your brand promise should define what your customers can expect from your product or services — every time — in one or two sentences. It's a guiding statement imparts your core values and should help your employees to deliver a consistent customer experience.

While a mission statement describes at greater length the overall goals and values of your business, a brand promise specifically communicates your commitment to deliver a certain experience. You need to deliver on your promise, or you’ll risk damaging your brand’s reputation, confusing your customers, and potentially losing hard-won trust with your stakeholders.

Your brand promise should be memorable, inspirational, simple, and help you stand out from the crowd. Here are some big brand promises to inspire:

  • Starbucks: To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time

  • H&M: More Fashion Choices That Are Good For People, The Planet, And Your Wallet

  • Nike: To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world

  • BMW: The Ultimate Driving Machine

  • Apple: Think different

Here’s a great guide from Brand Marketing Blog on how to create your own brand promise.


How to build brand trust

Make a plan

Building customer trust requires attention to detail and asks that you know your target customers well. Create a mission statement that describes your ideal audience, outlines your vision, informs your social and marketing strategies, and sets milestones along the way towards reaching your goals. You may need to conduct market research, check out your direct and wider competition, and ask your current customer base for feedback to inform your strategy.

Tell your story

Stories are a powerful tool in human communication, helping to build greater comprehension, understanding, and receptivity with the reader — and with the right components, can produce trust. Your brand story should be simple, authentic, emotional, credible, and inclusive to a wide audience. Telling your founder story and reason for being in business, and the challenges faced along the way, is an effective way to demonstrate your passion and build an emotional connection.

Susan Gunelius from Forbes stresses that honesty and transparency is important in brand storytelling: “Yes, you're crafting "stories," but they need to be rooted in the reality of your brand, products, and industry. In other words, even brand stories must adhere to the three primary steps of brand-building: consistency, persistence, and restraint.”

Protect consumer data

Data privacy is key to consumer trust. According to consumer insights research by pwc.com, data security has a far greater impact on trust than any other factor. 59% of the survey’s respondents said they have been more protective of their data in the last six months.

If you’re seeking to use personal information to better tailor products and experiences, be mindful of keeping that information secure — and importantly, reassure customers of this. Meeting customer expectations practically and in more direct ways — such as offering discounts and making purchasing easy — is what matters the most.

Be consistent

According to Forbes, presenting a brand consistently across all platforms can increase revenue by up to 23%. Consistent execution across all touchpoints is required to build a strong brand, encompassing everyone from employees to customers, prospects to partners. People won’t remember your brand unless it is presented the same every time they experience it.

Define and document your brand clearly for internal use — such as business objectives, company culture and ethos, style templates, content guides etc. — to help build your brand consistently from the grassroots out.

Pinpoint your values and be transparent

It’s never been more important for businesses to clearly define and align with ideals and ethics that have a positive impact. Facing a global pandemic, recessions and social turmoil have caused consumers to re-evaluate their buying behaviour. We have all realised that where you spend your dollars matters.

Customer Thermometer research shows that 13% of consumers would pay 31-50% more for products or services if they feel that the brand is making a positive impact on the world. Add to that, Fundera found that 89% of shoppers stay loyal to brands that share their values. It’s clear that company values are important and should be transparent across your brand's various touchpoints.

Published: 22 December 2021