Trust. When I think about the action of building trust, only one word comes to mind: relationship.
The challenge of building brand trust is really no different than building trust in every other relationship in life. Because trust has the same components despite the relationship, much can be learned from our earliest trustworthy bonds. For example, the trust that an elementary school teacher might form with a student illustrates the same three ingredients that are instrumental in forming a solid relationship with your brand.
Teachers are in a position to inspire their students, always have their interests at heart, and are honest, helpful, encouraging, and available.
The relationship with your brand isn’t any different.
We look for the same qualities in our B2B relationships that we had in our best educators, involved parents, and engaged family members as a child. In that way, the approach of building trust as a precursor to building traffic is really quite intuitive.
According to Havas' Meaningful Brands study -- people wouldn’t care if 74% of brands disappeared. What makes your brand stand out, nurtures the relationship between your brand and it’s beloved target customers and helps your organization become meaningful in their lives? From the perspective of our team at SPROUT Content, a Denver Inbound Marketing Agency, here’s an inside look at the top 3 ingredients needed to build a brand’s foundation of confidence and faith.
What made our best teachers our most trusted role models? Their role in educating. As a child, we believed an adult was committed to our future well-being when we witnessed them sharing information that was instrumental to our growth and development. That experience can teach us a lot about our brand messaging. Position your brand as the go-to, most trusted source of information in your industry. Be the exceptional educator, mirroring the caliber of that excellent teacher that you still remember from your elementary school.
Make content fun, interactive, and delightful. Position your brand as an industry leader by providing performance content aligned with the needs and interests of your target market. Aid in the customer’s research and create trust in the initial stages of the customer journey by providing valuable, actionable content that positions your organization as approachable and knowledgeable. Serve your target audience free of charge and they will turn to you when they need aligned services. Use your blog to showcase your expertise, and your commitment to the industry through thought-leadership pieces that help solve problems.
In addition to being the top source in organic search by providing the most relevant information, nurture your audience to keep them engaged. Strategically gate your offers to initiate long-term brand interaction. Use email drip campaigns to outline industry trends and successful case studies, along with day-to-day actionable information your target audience needs. In complex B2B sales, communication along the customer journey is instrumental in the sales process and highly segmented email campaigns are oftentimes the most efficient way to do so.
In a recent McKinsey study on customer satisfaction insights, consistency was noted as the most powerful indicator of customer happiness. Their customer experience survey of 27,000 American consumers across 14 different industries found that maximizing satisfaction has the potential not only to increase customer satisfaction by 20 percent, but also to lift revenue by up to 15 percent, while lowering the cost of serving customers by as much as 20 percent.
Trust is more important than ever in long-term brand growth.
Once again, the experience of consistency is instrumental to building trust, and is no different than the relationships we formed with our earliest teachers -- rules, guidelines and expectations create the foundation to believe, and invest emotional capital. The brands you feel most connected to employ clear policies, guidelines, rules, and supporting processes to ensure consistency during each interaction. From a marketing perspective, consistent messaging across channels forms a reliable, cumulative, brand experience throughout the customer journey. The result is simply: customer loyalty.
On the flip side, the McKinsey study found that a single negative experience has up to five times greater impact than a positive one, and it’s important for a company to have a consistent approach to organizational customer services challenges, with a plan to reinforce customer experience excellence.
The larger your organization, the more aggressive your leadership team must be in creating a predictable customer experience. The basic need for consistency to form brand trust is further evidence of the need for strategic messaging that includes the following:
- Keyword-specific communication that gives your prospects the information they seek
- A consistent look and feel throughout all promotional materials including brochures, website, social media, downloads, and email marketing.
- A seamless, integrated approach between sales, marketing, PR, leadership, and customer service when communicating with customers and prospects.
Standardizing, while humanizing, the customer service and sales experience is a critical balancing act. Make any interactions with your brand value-adding, conversational, solution-focused, and caring.
Consistency generates a reservoir of goodwill and makes a brand resilient while customers witness a company fulfilling promises with strong case studies and result-oriented communications.
When your elementary teacher remembered to ask about your soccer game or family vacation, you felt more engaged in the relationship. Similarly, on a much more grandiose scale, brands are most attractive when they make an impact in bigger ways. When brands contribute to local and global issues including improving our communities and preserving the environment, we are more inclined to trust.
Transparency is closely tied to impact and, especially in the lives of millennials (a difficult generation with which to form brand attachment), when a brand addresses collective, societal interests, long-term engagement is more possible than ever. Such factors include:
- The environment
- Carbon footprints
- Workplace conditions
- Salary equality
Once brands make a positive impact on issues that matter most to their target market, brand attachment, deeper connections, and trust are easily formed.
Not only should companies educate, provide consistency, and support global interests, a brand must deliver the promises it makes to its customers. And, more than that, it’s important that brands shout about those positive customer interactions from the rooftops. Shape messaging to proactively highlight client satisfaction and reframe expectations.
If we look back to the teacher-student relationship analogy, witnessing a teacher praising a student for studying hard and getting a good grade reinforces the message that studying hard works -- just as a brand reminds prospects that their solution is the answer to the business problem. This very detail can be the basis for a compelling brand promise. Take Southwest Airlines, who has built customer trust over a long period by consistently delivering on its promise as a no-frills, low-cost airline, and reiterates that brand message every chance they get.
Trust, not traffic.
Trust is the precursor to service, excellence, and eventually -- traffic, leads and customers. If you build it, they will come. And, if you build it on the foundation of trust, they won’t be able to stay away.
To learn more about how Sprout Content can help you build brand trust and increase your site traffic, contact us or download a free chapter of SPROUT Content Co-founders Dechay Watts and Debbie Williams' first book Brands in Glass Houses; How to Embrace Transparency and Grow your Business Through Content Marketing: