This is the Age of the Customer.
If you haven’t noticed it yet, the power has shifted toward customers, due in large part to the Internet and its various platforms.
Along with the changes in the rules come new challenges and opportunities for your brand. If you are ready and willing to adapt, you can take your brand to new heights and gain the trust of consumers. But if you resist these changes, you risk alienating your target market and languishing in your industry.
What is brand trust?
One crucial element for success in the Age of the Customer is brand trust. But what exactly is brand trust?
In a nutshell, brand trust is the ability of a brand to deliver on its promise. Compared to the brand effect, which is impulsive by nature, brand trust can take a long time to be achieved. That, however, is a worthwhile endeavor, especially when you look at its benefits, the most important of which is brand loyalty.
The equation is fairly simple: If consumers trust your brand, they’ll act as your ambassadors and put in the right word for you, both online and offline. But more importantly, loyal customers are repeat customers. That translates to higher profitability.
On the converse side of the coin, if people do not trust your brand, you’re well on your way toward the path of collapse.
One consumer survey after another indicates that customers put a lot of weight on trust and influence, especially when making a substantial purchase. This underscores the value of building trust between your brand and its audience.
Ways to build brand trust
If brand trust is vital for the survival of a brand, how can you make a robust foundation for it? Here are six helpful tips:
- Set clear and measurable goals
At the onset, you should have a clear idea of what success looks like for you. For some, that can mean getting glowing reviews on third party sites. For other brands, that means an increase in profits.
For online success, there are plenty of tools that you can use to monitor your brand’s progress. You can even use online survey tools to gain an in-depth view of how your brand is perceived.
- Choose a point person
Although having a point person in charge of overseeing how your brand trust grows is not necessary, having a person appointed for that task shows your commitment to achieving your goal.
A brand trust lead’s primary task, according to a leading brand experience agency in Riyadh, is to ensure that your goals and visions are appropriately communicated through the use of a detailed plan and strategies, especially when you are planning to use online platforms.
Additionally, brand trust lead can be tasked to monitor and evaluate the performance of your brand and make the necessary recommendations and corrections.
- Strive for authenticity
Quite simply, authenticity is the foundation of trust. That rings true in all relationships, whether between people or between consumers and brands.
Gone are the days when companies could rely on sales pitches and the use of different marketing tactics and strategies. To put it succinctly, your customers can see through these strategies and tactics.
But what does it mean to be authentic in the Age of the Customer?
Authenticity can mean a lot of things. For one thing, that can mean having goals and values beyond earning a profit.
It can also mean being there for your customers and being responsive to negative feedback and complaints.
Authenticity in the Age of the Customer can also mean developing an engaging brand strategy and narrative that shifts the attention away from your products or services toward your customers.
- Make the shift from customer service to customer experience
From a consumer standpoint, customer service can be limiting, especially in terms of building strong relationships. By its nature, customer service is reactionary and transactional.
Instead of investing solely in customer service, why not double up on providing an excellent customer experience? When it comes to customer experience, the primary goal is to stand by the side of consumers as they go through their journey.
That can mean providing them with unique and consistent experiences that show your understanding of their needs. And the more you pay attention to that, the stronger the trust you build will be.
A shift toward customer experience can also mean putting less focus on metrics like conversions and sales. Instead, focus your attention on building genuine relationships, and everything else will come afterward.
- Be transparent
What does transparency mean for brands and their audience?
Now that it is easy to gain insight into how other customers perceive and experience brands, consumers are looking at how well companies can fulfill their promises.
Here, transparency goes beyond marketing speak. In order to gain customer trust, you should deliver on what you promise. It can also mean being upfront about your processes and the materials and ingredients that you use. It can also mean being responsive online.
- Show social proof
With the growing distrust of consumers on advertising in its various forms, the need to build social evidence becomes even more urgent for brands.
In lieu of advertisements, consumers are becoming more and more dependent on peer reviews and social proof.
The best way to build social proof is to keep tabs on customer review sites and listen to everything that customers have to say about your brand, regardless of whether it is positive or negative.
Taking the long road
Running a business and building a brand can be immensely tricky tasks. As such, it is relatively easy to fall into the trap of attaining profits in the shortest possible time. That is especially true when you have stakeholders looking at you to make the right decisions and put money in the bank.
However, taking the quickest route is not always the best course of action, especially in the Age of the Customer, when brand trust matters.
Instead of taking the quicker route, why not invest in the correct foundations that can immensely benefit your brand over the long term? It may take some time and effort, but all of that pales in comparison when you have customers who will stick with you through thick and thin.