Think about some of your favorite brands. When you think of the most popular brands in the world, which ones come to mind?
Now ask yourself why these brands are remembered so fondly. The reason can be described in one word: trust.
Consumers gravitate toward brands and companies that deliver on their promises. Think about advertising and marketing. They’re two of the primary components of doing business in today’s global marketplace.
It doesn’t matter if you sell cars, computers, or cookies. You need to deliver a high-quality product. Plus, you must provide exceptional customer service.
Additionally, you need to exceed the customer’s expectations. In doing so, the public will be more than happy to put its trust in your brand.
However, you can easily and quickly lose that trust. It happens if your brand is viewed as dishonest or deceptive.
Consumers dismiss certain brands. They are the ones that make claims about a product that can’t possibly be backed up.
Let’s say principals of the company are found to be lying to the public. Maybe they’re caught in a scandal of some kind. This too can affect the customer’s opinion of the brand.
Creating an honest brand and maintaining that trust are both a challenge. Yet, some entrepreneurs are able to successfully pull it off. In turn, they have a bright and lucrative future ahead.
Integrity is important in all things when it comes to doing business. Thus, being honest matters above all things.
Deceptive business practices can spell certain doom for a brand. It can forever tarnish your character as a small business owner.
Yet, what defines honesty in business? It’s a commitment to ethics in running a company. Plus, it’s a promise to the public that you are providing a reliable product.
Additionally, it’s about assuring your investors that you are being truthful. You must be upfront about the health of the company.
When a brand is considered honest, the public considers it truthful and transparent. That makes the consumer more likely to trust the brand. Additionally, they will support it with long-term loyalty.
That trust goes further than the relationship established with buyers. It’s built around your own staff and personnel.
These people are tasked with ensuring that the business runs smoothly. There is also the trust earned among colleagues and competitors in the marketplace.
Customers like to see that a brand is fair with its employees and other companies within the marketplace. That can also bolster the trust that customers will put into the brand.
Honesty in all things is paramount. This is particularly the case when you are working hard to build your brand and its reputation.
Earning a Reputation
There’s an old adage in business. It dictates that trust is never given, but earned. Earning that trust takes time.
Thus, it’s earned bit by bit. This happens when happy consumers have purchased your product and get what they’ve paid for, time and again.
How do you build that kind of reputation with your brand? There are many facets to that equation and all of them are vital to success.
Customers are more likely to gravitate toward a brand that has two distinct characteristics. First, it takes care of the customer. Second, it has an engaging story to tell. Brands are about salesmanship, after all.
In the first instance, a brand will be more popular when it is rated favorably by the general public for taking care of the customer. If a product breaks, how quickly does the company fix it?
Is that product seen as defective? If so, how does the company respond to taking it off the market?
Does the product work as advertised? How well does it work? Does the brand offer a line of these products that are consistently dependable? Is that product seen as one of the best in the industry?
These are just a few of the ways that a brand earns the trust of the consumer.
The integrity of the brand is built upon these things. Let’s say a brand that is upfront about a mistake and does all it can to fix it. That is considered as protecting the customer.
Conversely, maybe that mistake remains on the market for weeks, months, even years. A brand can be damaged if it doesn’t give the buying public any sort of heads-up about the issue.
Let’s say that brand works harder on damage control in the aftermath of a defective or faulty product. Maybe, it’s one that has caused injury to customers in some way.
The brand needs to solve the problem. They should take it off the market. Plus, they need to recall the item from their customers. If not, it can irreparably destroy the brand.
As a small business owner, you must work to create a relationship with your consumer. That’s the second important characteristic to keep in mind.
Creating that relationship is about endearing your brand to the public. It’s done by engaging with customers on an emotional level.
Your brand tells a story. That story must resonate with your customers. You should do it in a way that keeps them engaged in some meaningful way.
Try to strike that balance with your customer. Thus, you will have them as a repeat customer for life.
Think back to some of those favorite brands you were pondering at the start of this article. These things are just some of the reasons why we gravitate toward certain companies and products.
Your favorite brands offer a reliable product. They are always honest about that product. Plus, they’re ready to solve a problem should one arise.
There are the brands that are true paragons of honesty in the marketplace. They transcend a simple level of commerce.
Then, become sewn into the fabric of the culture over time. A brand can become part of a livelihood or the very definition of an industry.
John Deere is a good example. The brand is synonymous with dependability and quality. Its products are the very definition of two different fields: agriculture and construction.
The brand is one of the best-selling manufacturers of tractors, construction equipment, and related gear. It’s been in business for nearly TWO centuries!
Now that’s a pretty long time to work toward building iron-clad trust with your consumer base. When you think of John Deere, certain attributes come to mind.
These include authenticity, durability, and honesty. Do you recall any sort of major national scandals with the brand?
Have there been any serious product defects so wide-ranging it damaged the health of the brand? Are there recalls?
Sure, there are from time to time. They recall certain parts or products when something is detected as a flaw in the manufacture of a product.
However, it’s rarely been something as sweeping as a million tractors being recalled from consumers. It’s more in the range of a few thousand.
Typically it’s when a part is found to pose a negative or injurious impact on the product or the consumer.
These are part of the reason why the brand has been in business for 175 years.
Why is John Deere so revered as a brand with integrity? There’s a better question. How can your brand obtain that level of trust with the buying public?
Let us consider the vital components. They are part and parcel to the foundation of building that relationship with your consumer.
It’s one thing to claim that your brand is honest. It’s another to show it in how you build and present your product or service.
A brand that is trustworthy doesn’t hide who they are or what they are about as a company. This brand puts its values at the forefront of its mission statement.
There are some extremely well-respected brands in the world. They include Hershey, The Home Depot, and Amazon.
All of them provide a buying experience that is typically positive. Each one is upfront and honest about the way it does business.
Hershey, in particular, also goes out of its way to give back to the community. They do it through the creation and funding of outreach programs.
They have made increased efforts to implement positive business practices. They focus on sustainability and preservation of the environment.
These things are all important to consumers. Plus, it portrays a brand that is responsible. It shows a company cares about their well-being.
Conversely, let’s say a brand is considered fraudulent. In that case, they can lose the trust of its consumers.
Additionally, they may get sued in the bargain. Such a thing is happening to Nestle and its Poland Spring water brand.
Think of Poland Spring and it tells a story. It contains about 100% natural spring water from Maine. It’s crisp, clean, and refreshing.
However, there is a lawsuit pending. It was brought by a number of consumers who claim that the water doesn’t come from a freshwater spring.
They say it’s merely bottled from common groundwater. It’s taken out of the many different Maine counties’ water supply.
Is it Illegal? No, it isn’t. Is it deceptive? Perhaps, it is. This creates doubt in the mind of the consumer.
They wonder whether or not Nestle is being upfront about their product. They question what exactly is inside that bottle of water.
One is Innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, of course. But a seed of doubt has been planted. Thus, if Nestle doesn’t win that lawsuit, it can grow into distrust.
Another way to build a relationship between your brand and the consumer is via customer protection. Maybe, it’s through exceptional methods of customer service.
Perhaps, it’s safeguarding their sensitive information entrusted to you during a purchase. If the consumer feels safe doing business with you, they will continue to do so.
Amazon is known as one of the most accommodating brands around. This is due to the way their customer service rectifies a problem.
If you’re not happy with a purchase, they make it right immediately. In fact, sometimes they send out a new product the same day as you contact them about an issue.
Their customer service always works to make it right. Additionally, they do it without any additional cost to the consumer. This is stellar.
Customer protection can impact a brand negatively. At one time, Target was breached by hackers. Forty million customers had their financial information compromised.
It was a black eye for the brand. It cost them millions of dollars in legal fees and settlement costs.
Now, four years later, the company is beginning to rebuild the same trust it had with consumers. They claim to have taken steps to increase and fortify their cybersecurity.
The brand is working to re-establish its relationship with customers. They are doing so through honesty and transparency.
If you have any comments about this topic or suggestions about future topics leave them in the comment box below.
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