Trust and the role of Brand

March 22, 2021

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In a world where trust is increasingly fragmented, brands that lead with their values can protect themselves against the institutional trust crisis.

It is time that brands take stands on issues and showcase values that their customers care about. If brands do not actively showcase an opinion, consumers will attribute opinions to them. Nike is an example that comes to mind. Nike’s partnership with Colin Kaepernick in 2018 demonstrated the market value of trust and values.

As the social media ‘information-misinformation’ tug-of-war continues to grow, brands need to be radically transparent, becoming the audiences' source of truth, showcasing that solidarity to their customers. A good example of a brand that has done this well is Ellevest. With a clear viewpoint on every socio-political issue affecting women and clearly communicating the truth of everything happening in the industry, they have been able to garner the trust of women (and men) for their investment needs.

So how can you, as a small business, build trust when it is increasingly fragmented?

1. Have values and communicate them.

Values-based marketing will help you forge a deeper, more meaningful relationship with you customers. Your customers’ values and ethics. The strategy focuses on making a genuine connection with the customer beyond interest in a product or service. It forges a deep bond between brand and customer. When brands and their followers share values and act on them, they make the world a better place.

2. Be comfortable with alienating certain customers.

This is easier said than done. When you have a small customer base, it is infinitely more difficult to lose some audience because of a stance you take as a business. But loyalty comes with the side-effect of alienation. If you want to build an advocate who will market for you in the world, lose the few who don’t resonate with your cause.

3. Be authentic.

There is nothing worse than lip service, and the customer will always catch on. Make sure you truly resonate with what you are messaging, and not just going with the flow of what is ‘cool’ or ‘in’ at the moment. Over time, you will be better off standing for that in which you truly believe.

4. Actively show your standpoints and values.

  • If there is a cause you believe in, make that part of your brand story, showcase it on your owned pages on different platforms.
  • Keep abreast of developments in the space.
  • If financially possible, find a way to contribute to the cause. Bake it into your P&L statement.

5. Show the customer you care.

Customer service is severely underrated. Through your messaging, post-purchase follow-up, customer service, make sure you show that customer some love.

6. Be radically transparent.

Be honest and transparent about your product, the ingredients, true benefits, the origin story, and your values. This honesty will be valued and rewarded through loyalty.

At the end of the day, if you want to forge a deeper relationship with your customer, that will build advocacy and over time translate into lasting revenues.

Written by Isha Vyas
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