Here on Rockstar CMO, we love to talk about the mission of marketing to create ART – Awareness, Revenue and Trust. In this guest article, Megan Isola from DEPT shares how you build customer trust with your brand values sharing 5 steps (and you know how we love 5 f’in’ steps!).
In the last few years, we’ve seen a shift among consumers. Now more than ever, people are voting with their wallets and are saving their purchases to shop with brands they trust. Your brand values play a pivotal role in connecting with your audience and hopefully turning them into customers. It’s clear that consumers want to support businesses that align with their values, but you may be wondering how to achieve this.
If you’ve got a business and know that individuals will support you in your mission to positively impact the world, here are some areas to be mindful of to build trust with your customers.
Aligning with consumer values
Now more than ever, consumers are looking to companies to lead the charge in positive community impact. When a business serves the community, customers in the area take note and have greater motivation to support a business that aligns with their interests and values. When your audience sees your brand identity is about community impact, they will quickly become loyal customers and look to you for the products and services they need.
Take Land’s End as an example. This business sells clothing to consumers with the promise of low environmental impact, inclusive sizing, high-quality material, and sustainability. Land’s End has built a repertoire of loyal customers who are conscious consumers looking to minimize the effect their clothing has on the environment.
When a company takes it upon itself to hold itself accountable for the effect they have on society and the community it resides in, you build trust among its consumers. When customers clearly understand your company values, they trust you to be the voice of your industry and will judge your ability to hold your company accountable.
Accountability for businesses means you uphold the needs and desires of your stakeholders, employees, customers and community, and the general public. Corporate responsibility means you hold your company responsible for the effect you have on the world, whether it be a societal, financial, or environmental impact.
Authenticity in business means you stay true to your mission and values in your day-to-day operations. Authenticity goes a long way in developing your brand identity and building trust with your community. Business authenticity helps to set your business apart from competitors and gives you a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
When a business loses its authenticity, it’s more likely to lose its pool of customers because they no longer trust your business, or you lose your relatability. For example, you could have a security breach that risks your customer’s chances of being victim of identity theft. Companies that are authentic, charitable, and consistent have a better chance of getting consumers on your side.
Inclusivity plays a role in building trust amongst customers. Being inclusive means you value and support your employees and customers who bring unique perspectives and life experiences to the table. Depending on your type of business, being inclusive can mean offering a wide range of sizes, and different price ranges to appease different incomes, and using diverse models in your brand imagery. When a business prioritizes inclusivity in its business model, you appeal to a broader range of consumers.
Sustainability has become another hot-button topic amongst businesses. Implementing sustainable practices into your business means that you take an active effort to reduce your business’s impact on the environment.
You may have heard the acronym ESG in the business discourse regarding sustainability, which is how we measure a business’s sustainable practices. ESG stands for environmental, social, and governance and is how we evaluate a business implementing sustainability into its business model. People vote with their wallets, and you may lose out on a large pool of customers when you don’t do your part to support the environment, society, and the world.
5 Steps for Building Consumer Trust
#1 – Tell your story
Telling your story is essential in helping your business relate to potential customers. Storytelling and testimonials help build trust amongst consumers and improve your chances of conversion when done correctly.
Like any good story, a good company story includes the setting in which your business began. Your story should also have a strong lead character, the “why” for your product or service. You’ll also include the challenges your business faced and how you resolved those issues, how your product or service works to support the problem, and your positive ending or outcome.
#2 – Build your reputation
Reputations aren’t built overnight. Instead, a business reputation is built through consistent efforts that align with your mission and values. A good reputation gets built through positive customer experiences, solid customer support, involvement in your community, building your online presence and authority, treating your employees well, and being transparent.
#3 – Align your values with your target audience
You likely have developed your buyer persona with your marketing and sales team. Your buyer persona can help you align your business with your target audience’s values. Consider what your target market cares about in the world, whether it be sustainability, inclusivity, or whatever you find in your research, and see how you can align the actions of your business with their wants and desires. When you align your values with your customers, you have a better chance of acquiring a pool of loyal customers.
Take the shoe brand Toms for example. For every pair of shoes they sell, they donate shoes to a person in need. Pretty soon, the whole world was rocking Toms, showing the effect and power aligning your values with your customers can have while using your story to build your reputation.
#4 – Optimize your customer service
Strong customer support can help you manage and satisfy customers who purchase your products. Quality customer service can help improve the experiences of customers who experience issues with your product or service and open up an opportunity to build a relationship amongst your customers.
To optimize your customer support, pay attention to meaningful metrics, evaluate your customer retention strategy, get customer feedback, and implement strategies to support your customers.
#5 – Build social proof
Social proof can help you build brand awareness and customer trust amongst those you reach through your marketing efforts. To leverage social proof in building customer trust, utilize endorsements from authoritative voices in your niche. In addition to endorsements, you can publish product testimonials, share survey results, proudly display your reviews, and show your products in action. Social proof is a great way to build trust among your customers.
Building customer trust
With some of these areas in mind, you can help align your values with your customers by remaining consistent and authentic with your audience. If your business was born from a mission to bring positive change to the world, customers will take note and improve your chances of bringing in a new and loyal customer. Just be sure you’re shouting what your business is about from the rooftops so consumers can find you.
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