You aren’t just building a brand, you’re building trust.
When your audiences are aware of your brand, you get opportunities to engage with them. If you provide a surprising, engaging and delightful experience with each engagement, (providing it is consistent and aligned with your brand values), you build trust.
That’s the formula. So, how do you execute?
Building and maintaining a trusted brand is certainly more achievable if you take some basic rules to heart.
Rule #1. Know what your audiences’ need and want.
An effective brand is a strategic brand. It determines who it’s speaking to through primary and secondary research. Only by understanding your audiences’ needs, wants, values and beliefs will you know what your brand should do and say. With a thoughtful and detailed audience profile, including demographics, psychographics and buying behaviours, you will define a critical and foundational piece of your brand. By demonstrating to your audiences that meeting their needs is at the heart of your brand, you build trust.
Rule #2. Discover your unique value and differentiate your brand from others.
Now that you understand your audiences’ needs, you must determine how your brand uniquely meets them. Start by examining your competition’s brand features and ask yourself, “What value do you possess that is unique in your industry and that also resonates with your audiences?”
“The ultimate competitive advantage is being cognitive.” – Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM
Since your audiences’ preferences and behaviours are constantly changing, your unique value must continually evolve too. You need to always be learning and adapting your efforts to meet your audiences in the middle. No matter what size of business you run, if you rest on your laurels, your brand will decline in its impact. Taking care to deliver distinguishing value to your audiences shows you care about them. That builds trust.
Rule #3. Deliver value.
Understanding your brand’s value and delivering it in a way that resonates with your audiences are totally different exercises. The former is grounded in research, examination and logic, while the latter is grounded in novelty, truth and emotion. Antonio Damasio, professor of neuroscience at the University of Southern California, argues that emotion is a necessary ingredient to almost all consumer decisions. With that in mind, if you can take a logical fact-based argument and transform it into an emotional, dynamic and creative brand experience, you’ll have a sure-fire recipe for delivering brand value, which builds trust.
Rule # 4. Express your brand consistently.
Now that you’ve determined your audiences’ needs, discovered your brand’s unique value and have figured out how to uniquely express your brand, you must then repeat the process over and over and over again. This is how you truly build trust with your audiences— through a consistent brand expression that is emotionally and logically resonate.
There’s no shortcut to consistency, but creating a brand guideline can make it easier for you. A brand guideline is a strategic set of rules that informs designers, copywriters, social media managers and others in your company about how your brand should be expressed, regardless of the medium. When you stick to what you do best and deliver it without variation, you build trust.
Rule #5. Keep putting in the work.
Building trust is 100% attainable through strategic and creative marketing efforts. When you create a trusted brand that provides value to your audiences consistently, you give your business a powerful asset that can be depended on to deliver dividends to your bottom line.