I frequently see pseudo-science claims and misleading labels that remind me that we aren’t entirely out of the dark ages of magical elixirs and healthy tobacco claims. It also reminds me how important trust has become to the brands we respect and follow. As consumers, a lot has happened over the last few decades to challenge our trust and make us aware that companies aren’t always looking out for our best interests. Demonstrating that you are interested in the well-being of your consumers and your community will give you a competitive advantage that will propel you to the top of the consumer’s mind and may even contribute to a better world. If you want your brand to elicit trust, consider these four basic steps and how you are going to demonstrate them.
- Back up your boast. You probably expected that I would first bring up the quality of your product or your service. I trust that if you are interested enough to read this far you have already thought about that one. Even more important is that you are able to deliver on what you promise and that what you are promising is accurate, believable, and distinguishable. Otherwise, any open wallet will come with a silent roll of the eyes and a little regret that will start to stack up. Be honest about what your quality is and what it is that you do well.
- Provide exceptional service. This is going to win my heart every time. I work with brick and mortar specialty stores all the time in our world of one-click-away discounted merchandise. These businesses have to work hard to provide you with service you can’t get online and they need to do it very well with passion, interest, and product knowledge. Be responsive. Answer the phone. Make sure your front line knows the product you specialize in and that your specialty is obvious to the customer. Go that extra mile to make sure that everyone that comes into contact with you is able to walk away with something positive, even if it isn’t an immediate sale.
- Be personal. Tell your story. Show your face. I also like the phrase, “don’t be afraid to show your belly.” The more we know about you, the more comfortable we feel about spending our dollars with you. Show us that you are real. Consumers like to know what you value. Consumers like to contribute to beautiful things. Show us your beauty. Your company has a culture. Make sure it’s a positive one and then extend that culture to everyone around you and let them experience what it is to be a part of what you do.
- Contribute to the community. Show an interest in being a part of the consumer’s life. Whether your community is a region on the map, a common interest, or both, you can lead the pack. Give us something that we value. Contribute to the arts. Entertain us. Offer us knowledge or a new skill. You can create a project from the ground up, or align yourself with others that are already doing neat things. When you contribute that kind of value, you show that you can lead and that you can be followed.
To build long-lasting healthy relationships and an army of brand ambassadors, look to add these to your list of corporate values and put some thought into how you are going to demonstrate them in the marketplace. Trust is essential to your growth and well-being as a company and as a person, especially when you are reaching out to an educated population in a well-connected world. Improving the lives of your patrons is just good business.
CEO, Producer, Storyteller,
Seelie Studios, LLC
Your Story is Our Business