It is in the long-term interest of a business to act in the best interest of its customers.
– Tom Young
Leading sales trainers and marketing consultants have long iterated that building a healthy trusting relationship with clients serves as the cornerstone of a successful and sustainable business. However, it is as important that businesses do not use trust-building measures as a passing trend; a strategy that they simply revisit every time a product is introduced into a market so that they can promote it and establish its brand image.
Maximize Your Brand’s Power
The power of branding is undeniable. To maximize the power of your brand you’ll have to take several crucial steps, a gist of which is given below.
1. Create Value
Know what a Brand is: Creating and maintaining a brand is no easy task. Branding inspires you because you remember several successful brands while quickly forgetting failed brands. Read up on what a brand is, its characteristics and what makes brands tick with its targeted market. Also, bear in mind real life examples of brand failure and success.
Decide Brand Essence: Experts say that a brand is an idea and a promise. The more focused the idea, the sharper the brand becomes – just like a knife. For example, Coke stands for happiness while BIC stands for disposability. Decide what your brand is about – individuality, portability, low-price, glamour?
2. Create a Brand Persona
After you have decided your brand essence, try to personify the brand you’ve created. Try how your brand would act and look like if it was converted to a human. What would be the gender, age, education, hobbies, strengths, aspirations, etc?
Select Brand Personalities or Characters: If possible select a celebrity who matches the brand persona well. There are several pros and cons of having a celebrity associated to your brand. A safer and less costly option is to create a brand character, like a cartoon and make your brand come to life!
3. Tell Brand Legends
Decide the stories you want to spread around concerning your brand. They can be real life stories such as those of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg or Richard Branson. You can also create interesting tales revolving around brand characters such as Cheetah from Cheetos.
4. Deliver Value
How to Deliver? Brand value is first delivered when the values created are communicated to the current and potential customers through different media channels. The second step of brand delivery is when the product/services are delivered.
5. Use Relevant Media
Know who your customers are and select the media that can be used to approach them. The core mediums thorough which you can communicate include above the line communication, below the line communication and electronic marketing.
You have to deliver the values created in an integrated way. The concept is called Integrated Brand Communications. It means that a brand’s every poster, video, campaign activity, TVC, etc must have a consistent message and graphic theme for a given geographic area and time period. Lack of integration among your branding practices will cause confusion to your targeted audience.
The Brand Value Pyramid consists of the three levels of brand communications – Attributes, Benefits and Values. When you launch a new brand, most of the time you begin by communicating your brand’s attributes and benefits. Later, on you communicate the values of the brand more often.
For example, Ben and Jerry’s started off by stressing the attributes and benefits – rich and tasty ice-cream that causes you absolute happiness. Later they started stressing their values, i.e. their green practices. This is the point where the customer falls in love with your brand so much so that stressing on the attributes and benefits is no longer that crucial.
How to Improve Your Business’ Brand Trust
Building brand trust is unarguably the most effective approach that marketing experts can adopt if their objective is to build the business in a truly profitable way. This is simply because by taking the initiative to put greater strategic emphasis on building customer trust in the brand, the business builds a clientele of customers that will stay loyal to the business in the long run. It is really that simple! Brand trust can be strengthened through the following:
Businesses can build trust with their clients simply by ensuring that they frequently interact with them. Any kind of interactive session between a business and a customer serves as the ideal opportunity to build trust. It also conveys to customers that the business cares about them.
Lending an Ear
There is not a single consumer in this world who would not appreciate a business that is known to be a good listener. Listening to the voice of the customer and addressing their complaints, opinions and feedback is a critical phase of the trust-building process.
Promptly Handle Complaints
In order to build a healthy bond of trust and mutual respect between a business and its customers, it is imperative that complaints are handled urgently, immediately and compassionately. Addressing genuine concerns of customers encourages them to stay loyal to the business. Businesses can also offer gifts and other attractive incentives to incensed customers to retain them.
Be Customer-centric rather than Sale-oriented
The primary source of income for all businesses is its clientele. Therefore, businesses should focus more on how to satisfy the specific needs of their customers rather than aiming to generate maximum revenues through them. Simply knowing that a business awards higher priority to the consumer than revenues is enough to earn a business the long-term loyalty of consumers.
Being Creative and Different
Constant innovation and improvisation also helps a business to build a trusting relationship with their customers. It does this by maintaining their interest and curiosity in the business so that they consumers naturally expect new ground-breaking products and services.
Do NOT expect anything in return – Although trust-building is a mutual process that works two ways, businesses should remember how important their clientele is to their long-term success and growth. Therefore, any kind of benefits, privileges and incentives that are offered to customers should be done so selflessly and without expecting any returns from them.
Eva is a regular contributor to marketing and small business blogs, where she writes about branding. Aside from blogging, Eva distributes helps brands choose the best promotional materials for their business through Custom Gear, an Australian branding agency.