Brand credibility is essential for a company’s success. Consumers simply will not buy products from a company they do not trust, and furthermore, when a company breaches a client’s trust, the news of that company’s failure spreads like wildfire. In the age of social media, you can craft your brand’s credibility using a range of tried-and-true tactics integrated with cutting-edge concepts.
Before pushing your product or shaping your brand, find innovative ways to convince your clients that they come first. Clients who feel as if you have their best interests at heart are more likely to turn to you when they need advice or products. When clients feel heard and appreciated, they instinctively develop trust for that company.
To see this idea in action, look at the Dove Natural Beauty campaign. Heralded as one of the most effective and most shared social media campaigns, the Natural Beauty ads featured a sketch artist. He drew women twice—once from their descriptions of themselves and then again from others’ descriptions. The latter images were striking, and the ad served as a reminder for all women that they need and deserve to see their real beauty.
The campaign didn’t push Dove products. It didn’t even mention them, but it told Dove clients they were beautiful. It made them feel good, and as a result, it created unrivaled credibility for that soap manufacturer.
Regardless of the image you create on social media, no one will trust your product if it is a dud when they purchase it. Selling a credible product or service is essential in creating credibility. The product doesn’t need to be the best, but it needs to be what it promises to be.
For example, millions of people buy McDonald’s hamburgers every year, and they don’t buy them because they are gourmet quality. They buy them because of their quality consistency. Whether a diner is in Cario, Egypt or Cairo, Kansas, they know their burger will taste the same.
Whether your niche is soap, burgers, cowboy hats, or IT consulting, positioning yourself as an expert builds credibility as well. If a client has a question about their plumbing and they find their answer on your blog, they will return to that space the next time they have a question. And when they eventually cannot troubleshoot something by themselves, they will turn to you for help. By positioning yourself as their go-to expert, you create trust which ultimately leads to more business.
Content on your website can be an effective part of this process, but you can also position yourself as an expert through contributions to online magazines, PR releases to local newspapers, speeches at trade shows, or even video demonstrations posted to sites like YouTube.
Unfortunately, no matter how hard a company works to build credibility, that credibility may be eventually thwarted by disaster or injury. In these cases, the issue shifts from creating credibility to maintaining it.
For a glimpse of how to respond to disaster and maintain credibility effectively, look at the Target data breach of 2013. After having million of clients’ accounts hacked, the company responded immediately with an apology and an offer of free identity theft protection services to its clients. It also explained its data protection methods to clients and launched an immediate PR campaign to help rebuild trust.
Even small companies can learn from this experience. Ideally, they should have data protection policies from a company such as LifeLock in place, and they should have a clear plan of how they are going to respond in the event that their credibility is momentarily compromised.