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Trust is a precious asset for today's brands. Easy to lose, and difficult to build, it's a commodity that cannot be bought. It has to be built through honesty and authenticity.
If a customer doesn’t trust a brand, they will be quick to turn to another company, and 46% of consumers even say that they will pay more to buy from a brand they trust.
Understanding how to build brand trust will set your company apart from others and allow you to build a loyal customer base that keeps coming back. This guide will demonstrate how you can build brand trust through authenticity while also highlighting some valuable brand authenticity examples to use as a guide.
The Power of Authenticity in Branding
Customers often want more than just a good product or service—they also want to deal with a brand they can trust and that they feel comfortable supporting.
Authenticity is the measurement of how a brand’s messaging aligns with its products and actions. Consider that 88% of consumers say that authenticity is important to them when deciding which brands they want to support, so it has become a vital marker for business success.
Authenticity ladders down to the many ways your customers will interact with your brand, including:
- Quality of a brand’s service or product
- The quality of the customer experience
- How well a brand protects customer information
- A brand’s public perception
Authenticity and trust are vital to attracting customers that are not only willing to support your brand but also defend it and recommend it to others. Ultimately, brands need loyalty and customer retention to survive in the market, and building trust will bring both.
Strategies for Building Brand Trust
Building brand trust is not always linear, and it requires a comprehensive strategy that considers a variety of factors. To effectively build brand trust through authenticity, your approach should consider these strategies.
1. Authentic Messaging
First and foremost, building trust starts with your messaging. Customers want to see a company that maintains consistent values and has messaging that aligns with them. Authentic messaging can look different for everyone, but the most important part is that the message is consistent and true to your brand.
Excellent examples of brands that maintain authentic, value-driven messaging are Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s. Patagonia has built brand trust through its commitment to sustainability and environmental and social responsibility. By holding true to this message, customers know what to expect from Patagonia, and the brand builds connections and trust with consumers who share these values.
Meanwhile, Ben & Jerry’s has built a large following by consistently advocating for social justice and progressive causes. The company uses its platform to advocate for issues like climate change, racial justice, and LGBTQ+ rights.
Although a strong product matters, customers care about much more than that—they want a brand that aligns with their beliefs. Messaging that is authentic to your brand and aligns with customers’ values is key to creating consumer trust and building a lasting impression.
In the same way it does in personal relationships, transparency makes a critical impression on consumers. Being honest and open will make customers more comfortable aligning with your brand. As much as 74% of customers say that transparent communication is important to them, so businesses must work to accommodate this preference.
Ways to demonstrate transparency include:
- Maintaining open communication about product sourcing and manufacturing
- Sharing company values, missions, and goals
- Responding quickly and appropriately to customer feedback and concerns
Transparency should extend through all customer interactions. Little can sink a brand’s image faster than not owning up to mistakes. If your customers experience a problem, you should own up to it and address it. Consumers will respect your honesty and your ability to correct your mistakes more than if you try to cover it up.
For example, Airbnb maintains a transparent review system and refund policies that rectify inconveniences for customers. Even though consumers know the experience may not be perfect every time, they know they can get a service they need and that Airbnb will address their concerns with proper urgency. It’s this willingness to accommodate customers that keeps them coming back.
Buffer is another great example that uses a slightly different model. The marketing company uses a business plan that places transparency as its second most important value. To demonstrate this value, Buffer has a completely open salary formula and transparent company culture. By sharing this information, the brand shows that it acts on this promise of transparency and can be trusted by its clients to stick to its word.
In our day-to-day personal interactions, we trust open and honest people with little to hide. Consumers value brands that do the same and give them comfort and confidence as they embrace a product or service.
3. Consistent Brand Experience
Without diving too far into human psychology, stability makes it easier for us to trust. We dislike surprises and confusion. Consumers are less likely to trust a brand if they don’t receive a consistent and stable experience. Something as simple as color can improve brand recognition by 80%, highlighting how vital this consistency is.
Some considerations for maintaining a consistent brand experience include:
- Using consistent visual elements, like your logo, colors, and typography, across all communication channels
- Maintaining a consistent tone of voice in all communications
- Providing a consistent user experience across touchpoints
Apple and Coca-Cola are two examples of companies that ground their brand experience in consistency to inspire trust and authenticity. Apple has a consistent user experience across all devices, meaning that customers can get to using any product without frustration or confusion.
Meanwhile, Coca-Cola is instantly recognizable across the globe. The product, the branding, and the message are always the same, creating a sense of consistency and familiarity. It’s this familiarity that establishes trust and encourages customers to choose Coca-Cola.
In both cases, customers know what they can expect from the brands and trust that they will receive the same quality experience they always do. Every brand should strive for this level of consistency.
Leveraging Social Media for Building Brand Trust
Every brand knows how powerful social media has become, and a strong social media presence is vital for staying competitive and accessing a loyal customer base. Although social media is a great tool for advertising your products and building brand awareness, you can also leverage it to build trust and confidence in your brand.
There are many potential ways to use social media, from storytelling to highlighting your brand in an authentic way. You can use social media to show products in action, highlight real customer experiences, and run value-aligned campaigns—all of which are great ways to build trust in your brand.
Of course, the best way to demonstrate the value of social media is to prove how it works in action.
Glossier is a great example of a brand that uses social media to achieve multiple goals. The brand does use Instagram to highlight its makeup and skincare products, but it does not stop there. Glossier also uses Instagram to foster dialogue between its consumers, creating a sense of community. Using the hashtag #glossier, customers can show off their favorite makeup looks and skincare routines, epitomizing authenticity.
Dove is another example of a brand that leverages social media to build brand trust. Dove ran its Real Beauty campaign through social media, which featured posts showcasing diverse and inclusive content that promoted self-confidence and self-acceptance.
Through this campaign, consumers realized they could trust Dove to include real women in their audience, not just models or those who follow unrealistic beauty standards. Still today, Dove uses social media to promote authenticity as a value and wins the trust of their audience in the process.
Influencer Partnerships and Brand Trust
Influencer marketing has become an increasingly popular and valuable tool for brands in recent years. In fact, 79% of people say that user-generated content impacts their purchasing decisions.
The connection between user-generated content and brand trust makes sense. Influencers can show the capabilities of a product or service in its real application and provide an honest assessment of how your product or service functions. As a result, the content allows your product to speak for itself. Plus, because influencers are real people and not actors, they help establish more trust in your brand, as consumers can see the unfiltered reality of your product.
Many influencers have amassed large followings that value their opinions. With influencers speaking in favor of your product, it’s easier for consumers to trust that it is what you say it is.
With the benefits of influencer partnerships, it’s also important for brands to be responsible in the process. Brands can ensure smooth partnerships with influencers by selecting influencers that align with brand values. Brands must also be sure to disclose their sponsorships and comply with advertising regulations.
Adobe and Airbnb are two examples of the power of influencer partnerships.
Adobe collaborated with influential creators, designers, and artists to showcase the authentic, real-life capabilities of its products and creative tools.
This collaboration expanded Adobe’s presence to new audiences and demonstrated the usefulness of its tools in action, building trust amongst people who may not have been familiar with all that Adobe has to offer.
Airbnb also leveraged influencer partnerships to build trust through authenticity. The vacation rental platform partnered with well-known home renovation and design duo Chip and Joanna Gains, launching “The Fixer Upper” campaign together. This campaign showed real Airbnb properties being renovated on the popular HGTV show, “Fixer Upper,” with Chip and Joanna Gains.
By showcasing real properties in popular locations and leaning into the unique charm that a “Fixer Upper” has to offer, they were honest with their consumers and demonstrated that there is value in the authenticity of the varying homes on the platform. Not to mention, they reached a wide new audience at the same time.
Building Trust through Thought Leadership
Being a thought leader demonstrates that your brand is knowledgeable and trustworthy in a particular field. This thought leadership status is particularly valuable for B2B brands that serve other industry professionals. Brands that establish themselves as thought leaders create an audience of consumers that will likely return for a product or service.
The best way to establish your brand as a thought leader is by creating valuable and informative content. Examples of content include:
- Video content
HubSpot and Salesforce are two brands that have epitomized the value of thought leadership. Both have set themselves apart from their competitors simply by establishing themselves as reliable places to turn for information.
HubSpot creates blog posts, webinars, conferences, and other educational resources that offer value to marketers and professionals. When consumers or business owners need support with digital marketing, they know that they can trust HubSpot because they have likely come across content that demonstrates their expertise.
Meanwhile, Salesforce developed a strong reputation through a similar strategy. Salesforce holds an annual event called Dreamforce that brings together industry experts and thought leaders to discuss the future of tech and business.
Salesforce also publishes other forms of content, like insightful reports, whitepapers, and case studies. All of this establishes them as an authentic thought leader you can trust for both information and reliable services.
Cultivating Brand Advocates and Community
One of the strongest demonstrations of the power and effectiveness of your brand is a crowd of people willing to stand by your product. When your brand has built an authentic presence, consumers become advocates themselves, highlighting the trustworthiness of your brand and expanding your audience. There are several brands that exemplify the ability to build community and brand advocacy.
GoPro encourages customers to share their videos and pictures from their experiences on social media with the hashtag #GoPro. There is little more authentic than seeing the experiences of other brand customers in real time.
This campaign accomplished two valuable things. First, it created a community amongst those who use GoPro products. Second, it demonstrates the capability of GoPro products to take quality footage during consumers’ adventures.
From the outside looking in, consumers recognize the value of GoPro products in capturing experiences and see the wide community that trusts the products on their adventures. Seeing the device in action gives them a reason to trust the brand and invest in a camera themselves.
Harley-Davidson is another example of a brand that thrives on community. The brand itself creates a sense of loyalty among its consumers with quality motorcycles and motorcycle gear. Harley-Davidson customers are passionate about the brand and willing to speak on its behalf, which is due largely to the brand’s success at building community.
One of the ways that Harley-Davidson fosters community is through the Harley Owners Group (HOG). This group offers exclusive benefits to its members and includes organized rides, events, and a platform for owners to connect and share their experiences. This group keeps its current consumers engaged and highlights the fun to be had for new members in the broader audience as well.
Start Building Brand Trust for Your Company
Authenticity is a valuable resource for building brand trust amongst consumers. By creating a comprehensive strategy for building brand trust, your brand can reel in loyal consumers who appreciate your values, maintain confidence in your products, and stick around for the future.
At PETERMAYER, we will help your brand access your authenticity in a way that resonates with customers. Our creative and branding strategy services use data and ingenuity to help you craft an authentic message that builds trust across a wide audience. We can support you throughout your branding and marketing journey, from content creation to analytics.
Contact us today to learn more about building brand trust and schedule a discovery call to get started.