Trust. It’s important.
Paying proper attention to your business’ brand goes a long way to building trust in your customers.
Think about how important trust is in your daily life. Each of us relies on someone at one time or another for support, and assurance that everything’s going to be OK. We all want to feel secure in our expectations, and prepared for whatever comes our way. Trust in one another goes a long way to establishing that feeling that all is as it should be. It’s peace of mind we all need to sleep at night and have the confidence to face the challenges of tomorrow.
We trust people who have shown us that they can be counted on to help when help is needed, or to help protect our best interests, or simply to be the same person we know today, tomorrow, and a year or two from now. They’ve demonstrated not simply that they’re a valuable support resource, but that the support they provide will always be there. These people trust us enough to be loyal to us, and we reward them with the same trust and loyalty.
It’s the same in business relationships as it is in our personal relationships. You need to trust that your business partner shares your philosophy. Your investors must trust that you will succeed and provide a return on their investment. You need to trust that your vendors will supply your business with necessary products and services. And your customers need to trust that your business will deliver what they need.
Trust requires communication.
Usually, the first element of your business that a potential customer will interact with is your branding. They’ll spot your business name and logo in an ad, or on a sign or promotional materials of some kind, and they may decide right then and there whether you have a shot at winning their business. This is the first moment that determines whether your branding works.
Creating an effective brand means knowing the customers you want to attract, and knowing how to appeal to them. You need to know not only who they are, but what they’re thinking. For instance, a financial advisor knows that her clients come to her for help in making the right decisions with their hard-earned money. They’re essentially placing their future in her hands, so her branding needs to assure them that she’s capable, and that she takes the responsibility they’re giving her seriously. Therefore she can’t present branding that looks like it belongs on a sausage cart. There are businesses where casual, fun branding is appropriate, and financial advisor is not one of them.
Donald Trump—all politics aside—succeeded in winning the presidency because he was able to establish a brand that connected with the people who would vote for him. Love him or hate him, whatever you think of him, you have to concede that his branding worked.
Effective branding also means knowing how to properly express what your business is all about. Your business’ brand must give potential customers an accurate portrayal of your business’ purpose, its culture and its atmosphere, so that when and if they decide to give you a chance, they’re not disappointed or confused by what they get. Even if you do everything exactly the way you mean to, if the customer is turned off because he was expecting something else, then you may have a brand that doesn’t properly communicate what your business is, and you may lose business as a result.
In Never Surrender: A Galaxy Quest Documentary, the film-makers say that the movie suffered a disappointing opening because it was advertised as a kids movie. Word-of-mouth saved it from dying at the box office once movie-goers saw it and realized that science-fiction fans of all ages would enjoy it.
Similarly, promotions for the movie Deadpool really did try to warn people that it was not appropriate for children, but many parents just saw what they thought was another superhero movie, and were horrified when they took their kids to it.
Branding is about trust. Trust is about consistency.
It doesn’t stop with just your name and logo. Branding encompasses everything your company does, and how it does it. Brand consistency means that all your materials, your promotion efforts, even the way you dress for work and the way you greet customers, all send the same message. It’s your company’s attitude, culture and “feel.” It creates expectations in your customer’s mind, and it ensures that those expectations are met in every interaction, every time.
Your brand needs to invite potential customers to trust that your business has what they want, then deliver on that promise, and continue to reassure customers that they’ll get the same positive experience each time they buy from you. You want them to know they can rely on your business this time and the next, so the next time they need what you have, they will feel safe and secure knowing that they can come to you, and everything will continue to be OK.
Charles River Creative can help your business establish a brand that works.