Creating an Authentic Brand: Strategies for Building Brand Trust

Category

Branding

Read Time

20 min

Published

04 December, 2023

Building trust with your audience is a key part of the customer journey.

The truth is, we’ll buy products we like, but we’ll rarely commit to a brand unless we trust them.

If the level of trust isn’t there we’re much more likely to shop around as we don’t have any loyalties. Our purchasing decisions will also be driven by factors such as price and convenience, rather than investing in a brand because we trust them.

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Regardless of what product/ service you’re looking for, there’ll be hundreds of companies claiming they can offer you the same thing.

So what makes customers choose your brand over someone else? By building brand trust so that customers choose you without a second thought.

There are lots of things a company can do to build this trust, some of which you might not have even considered.

Let’s get into it.

The Importance of Building Trust With Your Audience

When we trust someone, we feel safe and secure.

In business, this translates to customers buying from you more often because they know they can count on you to deliver on your promises.

If they trust you, they’ll be more likely to purchase from you time and time again, even when they have other options available. This applies even when the other options are cheaper or more convenient, as customers are invested in your brand.

For example, when I want a cup of tea I’ll always buy Yorkshire Tea.

Even though it’s about double the price of other tea brands, and way more expensive than Asda’s own brand, I’d rather pay the extra and know that I’m drinking Yorkshire Tea.

That’s because I trust the brand and I know how good the tea tastes. It’s reliable and dependable, and I feel ‘safe’ choosing this brand rather than saving myself a couple of pounds for a cheaper alternative that I might not enjoy as much.

That’s one of the reasons why building trust with your audience is important as it allows you to charge a higher price point for the same product.

Aside from this, building trust is also important because:

  • Customer loyalty: When customers trust your brand, they are more likely to make repeat purchases and remain loyal over the long term.
  • Positive reputation: This reputation can help attract new customers and partners, as people are more inclined to associate with brands they trust.
  • Higher conversions: When consumers trust your brand, they are more likely to take the desired action, whether it’s making a purchase or downloading an app.
  • Reduced marketing costs: Satisfied and trusting customers are more likely to recommend your brand, reducing your need for advertising and marketing efforts.
  • Price elasticity: As noted above, consumers who trust your brand may be willing to pay a premium for your products/ services, which can improve your profit margins.
  • Long-term growth: Trust can lead to sustainable success and a strong foundation for future expansion.
  • Customer advocacy: Customers are more likely to promote your brand, defend it in online discussions, and contribute positively to your brand’s image.

Side note: Other tea brands are available, Yorkshire Tea is my personal favourite. To explore others and why they’re successful, check out our post of tea branding examples.

How to Build Trust With Your Audience

Building trust with your audience doesn’t just happen overnight.

Established brands such as Yorkshire Tea didn’t just ‘have’ a level of brand trust when they first started – they had to earn it.

It’s like everything in life; you don’t just trust someone you first met, you need to get to know them and build it from there.

For your business to build trust with your audience, it needs to have these 3 things:

  • Reputation – A positive reputation demonstrates consistent quality and reliability, fostering trust in a business’s products or services.
  • Credibility – Credibility, through expertise and authenticity, convinces the audience that the business can deliver on its promises, bolstering trust.
  • Integrity – Integrity in business practices and ethics reassures the audience that the company operates with honesty and transparency, strengthening trust.

an infographic that describes 3 ways to build trust with your audience.

Below we’re exploring the strategies you can use to achieve this, starting with the most important people…

Know your audience

The best way to gain your customers’ trust is to show you truly understand who they are and what it is that they’re experiencing.

In order to best alleviate their problems and concerns with your expertise, you need to do some digging to find out who they are.

A few ways to get to know your audience include:

  • Reading past emails with customers and identifying trends. For example, is there a particular part of your product or service that customers are consistently struggling with?
  • Interview customers and get their feedback on what they like about your brand and what areas they would improve.
  • Talk to your sales and and customer support teams who have the greatest insight into what your customers are going through.
  • Read reviews and find out what customers are saying about your company. Are there experiences positive or negative, and why?
  • Look through your social media platforms to find out what people are talking about when it comes to your brand.

FYI: Knowing your audience is a core part of building any successful brand. If you’re struggling to define your audience, use the template below. This helps you explore each and every aspect of your ideal customer.

infographic showing questions to ask when deciding on target audience

Be transparent and authentic

Don’t make promises that you can’t keep as you’ll only disappoint customers later down the line.

This means your sales team has to be upfront about pricing and how your offering can actually help.

For example if you’re an online kitchen company who designs kitchens but doesn’t offer installation services, make this crystal clear from the beginning.

This means customers know what they’re buying and they know what to expect from your company. It’s up to them to decide if they’re happy to go ahead or if they want to shop around for a kitchen company who can ‘do it all’.

Arming them with the right information is crucial though, as you’re empowering the customer to make an informed choice instead of lying to them just to make a sale.

Furthermore if your company, by accident, makes a significant misstep, own it, and address it as quickly as possible. For instance using the example above, maybe you’ve got someone new in your sales team who overpromises a customer that they can design and install their kitchen.

Instead of just paving over this and waiting until the customer asks about the installation, contact them straight away, explain the miscommunication, and rectify the relationship.

Don’t try and deceive people as this will weaken their trust.

Also, make sure to share both successes and failures as this makes your brand more human.

Create valuable content

Creating content should be at the core of everything you do when it comes to marketing and attracting people to your business.

To build trust with content, you must be helpful, educational, and consistent. You want people to be able to depend on you for the information they’re looking for.

Get a solid understanding of their pain points and write content that addresses those problems. Understand what your audience’s intent is and speak to it.

To make sure you’re creating valuable content, use this checklist:

Show authority

  • Check spelling and grammar
  • Include statistics and research
  • Include your own experience

Optimise for SEO

  • Use keywords
  • Write meta descriptions
  • Use H1/ H2/ H3 tags
  • Include alt text on images

Stay focussed

  • Understand the needs of your audience
  • Include FAQ’s
  • Create a blog outline

Make it actionable

  • Write a concise conclusion
  • Add a relevant CTA
  • Include a downloadable resource)

matrix showing 4 ways to create valuable content

Be consistent in all communications

Consistency in all communications is crucial for brands to build trust with their audience because it establishes reliability.

In turn, reliability fosters a sense of dependability and credibility, assuring the audience that the brand can be trusted to deliver on its promises.

To achieve this, brands should maintain a uniform brand voice and messaging across all platforms both online and offline. So whether you’re handing out leaflets at an exhibition or writing a post on social media, you need to be consistent.

Additionally, carrying out regular audits of communication channels can help identify and resolve any inconsistencies that may arise over time.

This can be easier than you might think, as when brands grow, they inevitably develop more platforms and touchpoints. It’s common for brands to forget about some of these (especially the ones they use the least), but they need to be consistent with one another to create a strong brand image in the mind of your customer.

Demonstrate social responsibility

Demonstrate your brand’s commitment to social and environmental responsibility through actions like sustainable practices, charitable initiatives, or partnerships with socially conscious organisations.

Customers like it when brands show that they care about things outside of themselves. It’s not just about the brand selling a product or service, but about who they are as a company and what they stand for.

By associating your brand with sustainability for example, you’re showing that you have depth as you care about the environment. You’re not just interested in making money, but you’re in touch with what’s going on in the world around you and you’re trying to do something to help.

Going back to my earlier point about being human, this further supports that as it shows that your brand has thoughts, feelings, and a conscience.

Utilise your website

To build trust, your website must make a good first impression otherwise no one is going to stick around long enough to find out what you do.

You need to give people a reason to stay put, so that they can learn more about your company and the products/ services you have to offer.

To make the most of your website, it needs to include the following:

  • Clear call to action buttons – A call to action (CTA) helps guide people through the customer journey and advise them on next steps.
  • Contact information – Consider using a little personality as well to make your audience want to contact you even more!
  • Visual branding – Integration of strategy, messaging, positioning, and brand is so important for a business to build trust.
  • Video – Video allows you to give people a real sense of who you are, what you stand for, and let people hear your story.
  • A list of problems and solutions – Identify the problems you solve and make it easy for website visitors to see them.
  • Social proof – Include testimonials, case studies, client results to show your experience. These are like currency in the trust phase.
  • Updated content – Show that you care about your own business and publish new content regularly.
  • Show your personality – This will help to establish an emotional connection with your audience which will make them more likely to trust you.

image showing the features of good website

For example on the Canny website, we list the problems that our services can solve so that visitors immediately know how we can help.

It leaves no room for ambiguity and helps potential clients decide whether or not we’re the right people to work with. It also adds a level of transparency as we’re not claiming we can do everything; we address key pain points and how our services can help.

Show your commitment to data privacy and security

Customers are increasingly concerned about the privacy and security of their personal information.

Instead of just giving away their details without a second thought, they want to know what brands are doing with their data and how this affects them.

I think we can all agree that getting spammed with emails from a company is one of the most frustrating things.

To build trust in this area, consider the following:

  • Clear privacy policies: Ensure your website has a transparent and easily accessible privacy policy that explains how you collect, use, and protect customer data. Make sure it complies with relevant regulations such as GDPR or CCPA.
  • Secure transactions: Invest in cybersecurity measures to protect customer data from breaches. Use encryption, secure payment gateways, and regularly update your security protocols to stay ahead of emerging threats.
  • Consent and control: Give customers control over their data. Allow them to opt-in or opt-out of data collection and ensure they can easily update their preferences.
  • Data handling Transparency: Be upfront about how you use customer data. Explain why you collect certain information and how it benefits them or enhances their experience.
  • Regular audits: Conduct regular audits of your data practices to identify vulnerabilities and ensure compliance with changing regulations.

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People form an opinion about your website in seconds, so you can’t gain brand trust if your design makes them bounce back to Google.

This extends to all visual aspects of your company, both online and offline.

Investing in professional design is essential to establish a cohesive visual identity, fostering a sense of professionalism and trustworthiness among your audience.

High-quality design elements such as professional imagery and clear CTA’s, enhance the brand’s aesthetic appeal and reinforce your audience’s confidence in the brand.

Trying to cut costs in this area is silly, as how you present yourself as a brand, whether that’s through your website, your social media channels, or printed materials is absolutely key to building trust.

Imagine hearing about a brand, going onto their website, and finding that it has really poor web design? The hero image is blurred, some of the links don’t work, and the pages are taking an eternity to load.

It doesn’t instill any confidence, and more than likely, you’ll hop back to Google and find someone else.

Stay relevant

Staying updated with what’s happening in your sector, will help you build trust with your audience by saying and doing the right things.

If your brand seems out of touch, it’ll be more difficult to trust and connect with.

To stay relevant and build brand trust with your audience, make sure you:

  • Listen actively: Pay attention to what your customers are saying, both directly and through social media, reviews, and feedback channels.
  • Adapt to trends: Be flexible and willing to adapt your products, services, and marketing strategies to align with changing customer expectations.
  • Provide value: Continuously strive to provide value to your audience. This could be in the form of informative content, educational resources, or promotions that genuinely benefit your customers. Demonstrating a commitment to providing value builds trust.
  • Engage authentically: Engage with your audience authentically on social media and other platforms. Respond to comments and messages genuinely and personally.
  • Invest in customer support: Provide exceptional customer support. Make it easy for customers to reach out to you and resolve any issues promptly and professionally.
  • Demonstrate expertise: Share knowledge, insights, and thought leadership via blogs, webinars, or events. Establishing expertise can instill confidence in your audience.
  • Seek feedback: Use customer feedback to make improvements and show that you value their input.

Build relationships

The more you are able to establish relationships with your audience, the more likely they’ll be to trust you.

You need to build personal connections which involves engaging with your audience on social media and being attentive/ responsive to their needs.

A few tips to do this include:

  • Show that you care
  • Be responsive
  • Be genuinely interested in what they have to say
  • Be transparent
  • Ensure two-way communication

pyramid showing how to build a relationship with your audience

Building personal connections with your audience is an ongoing process that requires genuine effort and commitment.

Be available

Think about a time when you needed assistance from a company, but they were hard to reach, ultimately leading you to shop elsewhere.

You wouldn’t want your potential customers to do the same thing.

The accessibility you offer to your customers and target audience can significantly impact the level of trust they place in your brand, either bolstering it or hindering it.

Make sure you’re available when customers need you by providing a range of communication options. This could include email, phone, social media, or live chat.

Whilst it might not be possible to be active on these channels 24 hours a day, you’re still ensuring that customers have ways to reach out and receive assistance during your regular business hours.

Also make sure you clearly display your opening hours so that customers understand the best time to get in touch. And if they do get in touch after this point, send a holding message letting them know you’ve received their enquiry and a member of your team will be in touch.

This makes customers feel heard as there’s nothing worse than trying to contact a company and being ignored.

Act on feedback

Customers are more likely to place their trust in businesses when they perceive a genuine appreciation for their input.

One way to show this commitment is by actively seeking and acting upon customer feedback. This means engaging in activities such as distributing surveys, requesting opinions after customer interactions, and creating opportunities for customers to participate in and contribute to the improvement of your processes.

By taking these measures, you extend your relationship with customers beyond financial transactions. It sends a clear message that you value their thoughts, concerns, and suggestions as you’re taking the time to ask.

This not only strengthens the idea of a partnership between your brand and its customers instead of it just being one-way.

Be predictable

This one might sound odd, but stay with us!

Whilst predictability might have associations with being boring or ‘playing it safe’ , being predictable is key for building trust with your audience.

For example, one of the reasons why the global restaurant chain, Pizza Hut, is so popular, is because it’s predictable.

Regardless of where you are, at what time of the day, you know you’re going to receive the same experience when you step into the restaurant. Customers like this; it gives them a sense of reassurance as they know what to expect.

Remember, you want people to depend on you for what they need, so you need to do your best to give it to them.

Maintain the relationship

After a customer has completed a transaction with your business, you need to maintain a connection with them. This ongoing relationship demonstrates to every customer that you value them not just for the transaction but for their long-term loyalty.

One way to achieve this is through the use of a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. A CRM system allows you to send customised messages based on information gathered from your interactions with the customer. This covers everything from past product purchases to previous conversations with your sales reps.

By leveraging this data, you can establish a more personal and meaningful connection with your customers. For instance, you can send them tailored product recommendations based on their previous purchases, ensuring that your communications are relevant to their interests and needs.

This goes a long way in making customers feel appreciated beyond the initial transaction. It reinforces the idea that you are committed to their satisfaction and are eager to serve their needs.

custom illustration showing a survey or form

How to Measure Trust From Your Audience

Measuring trust from your audience is a vital step in gauging your brand’s credibility.

It provides valuable insights into the level of confidence your audience has in your brand, allowing you to make informed decisions and adjustments to improve this further.

Here are some ways to measure trust from your audience:

  • Feedback and surveys
  • Online review
  • Social media engagement
  • Conversion rates
  • Customer retention rates
  • Complaints and issue resolution
  • Repeat business
  • Market research and focus groups
  • Competitor analysis
  • Employee feedback

Regularly assessing these metrics and adapting your strategies based on the results can help you build and maintain trust with your audience over time.

The Importance of Your Net Promoter Score

Along with the measures listed above, your net promoter score is a valuable metric for assessing customer loyalty and satisfaction.

While NPS doesn’t directly measure trust, it is closely related and can provide valuable insights into how much customers trust a brand.

Here’s how it works:

Customer loyalty

NPS primarily assesses customer loyalty by asking a single question: “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend our product/service/company to a friend or colleague?”

Customers who score 9 or 10 are considered promoters, indicating a high level of satisfaction and trust in the brand.

This can be calculated using the formula below:

infographic showing how to calculate net promoter score

Promoters are more likely to recommend the brand to others, which suggests a level of trust that their recommendation will be met with a positive experience.

Customer satisfaction

Trust is often closely linked to satisfaction. Customers who are highly satisfied with a brand or company are more likely to trust it.

In NPS, customers who give high scores (9 or 10) are typically more satisfied, and this satisfaction is indicative of trust in the brand’s ability to deliver on promises and meet expectations.

Feedback and open-ended comments

In addition to the NPS rating, customers are often given the opportunity to provide open-ended comments. These comments can offer deeper insights into the specific reasons behind a customer’s rating, including aspects related to trust.

Customers may mention issues related to trustworthiness, reliability, transparency, or the brand’s commitment to its values in their comments.

Trends over time

Monitoring NPS can reveal trends in customer loyalty and trust. If NPS scores consistently rise or fall, it can be an indicator of changing levels of trust and satisfaction among the customer base.

Brands can use this information to adjust their strategies and improve trustworthiness.

Comparative analysis

NPS can be used for benchmarking and comparative analysis against competitors. A higher NPS score compared to competitors can imply that a brand is more trusted and preferred by customers.

How to Regain Lost Trust With Your Audience

The most important thing about regaining lost trust is to acknowledge any mistakes that may have led to this in the first place. Be transparent and take full responsibility for any errors; don’t deflect blame or make excuses.

It’s essential that you’re honest with your audience by addressing their concerns and providing clear and accurate information.

Depending on why trust was lost, you need to rectify the situation. For example, if rebranding mistakes were the cause, consider revisiting your rebranding strategy. Assess what went wrong, and make adjustments to align your brand more closely with the values and expectations of your audience.

If the negative press stemmed from internal issues, implement actions to prevent these problems from recurring. Share your action plan with your audience to reassure them that you’re working to address the issues.

However regardless of the reason, seek feedback from your audience about their concerns and act on this to show that you value their input and are committed to meeting their needs.

It’s important to note that rebuilding trust is not a one-time effort and it won’t happen overnight. It requires a long-term commitment to maintaining transparency, consistency, and accountability.

Creating an Authentic Brand: Strategies for Building Brand Trust

Building trust with your audience is critical if you want to turn passive customers who might be looking for a bargain, into loyal brand advocates who will consistently choose your brand.

As we’ve covered in this blog post, taking the time to build and establish brand trust brings a whole range of advantages as you can charge a more premium price, boost conversions, and sales, and rely on positive word of mouth marketing.

It is an investment though as you need to put steps in place to make your audience feel safe and secure. Your brand needs a face, a personality, and a conscience so that customers can relate to you rather than just seeing you as another name offering another service.

By following the steps we’ve outlined, you can foster a deeper sense of trust among your audience and create a better relationship with them.

At Canny, helping brands engage with their customers is what we do. This can be a tricky process as you have a lot to think about, but we partner with you to ensure your brand is the one that stands out. Get in touch with our team to find out how we can help.

Hi, I'm Amy, Content Strategist at Canny. In my day-to-day role, I'm responsible for creating content that gets you noticed and makes you stand out from the competition. Naturally, I love writing and creating engaging copy that brings your brand to life.

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