In today’s business world, brand imaging is everything. How consumers view your brand directly impacts purchasing decisions as well as word-of-mouth advertising. Thanks to the internet, even a speck of bad publicity can spread like wildfire and severely hurt your sales and reputation.
Brand credibility follows a cause-and-effect arc. As a brand, you do your best to maintain a good reputation through strategy, high-quality offerings and superior customer service. In return, consumers, other businesses and search engines all help your brand build its credibility. These strategies will help move the process along in the right direction:
1. Read the Business Landscape
Do you remember the old Blockbuster buildings? There was a time when the perfect weekend included a trip to the video store to rent the latest film to watch as a family. Sadly, Blockbuster went out of business in large part due to its failure to adapt to the growing trend of digital streaming.
While nostalgia has kept the memory of Blockbuster alive and well, it’s also remembered as a brand that couldn’t make it. To prevent your company from becoming a relic, you must stay on top of the trends affecting your industry.
Plenty of examples from the COVID-19 crisis underscore the need to adjust to the ever-changing business landscape. Following the pandemic, more customers are expecting enhanced delivery and pick-up options from restaurants and retailers. Companies that work hard to implement these changes, and do it well, will see massive increases in their brand credibility.
2. Know What People Are Saying About Your Brand
Just because you haven’t received a formal complaint in a while doesn’t mean consumers aren’t still talking about your business. Knowing what people say about your brand gives you a road map to steer your company image in the right direction.
Start by looking at reviews customers have left on the internet. If you have a Google My Business page, customers can leave reviews that will come up in searches. If your business has a mobile app, check app stores for reviews customers might have left there. Websites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor can also shine a light on how your business is viewed by locals and travelers alike.
When you gather feedback, put it to use. It’s no use knowing that customers think your brand logo is outdated if you’re not going to consider a change.
Put customers’ values at the forefront, and your efforts will develop credibility in their sight.
3. Monitor Your Site Metrics
Having a functional and attractive website is more important now than ever. Businesses without a running website will quickly fall behind and even be mocked by the modern-day consumer scoping out new brands.
Make sure your site is up-to-date and running efficiently. User experience is of the utmost importance. It won’t matter how pretty your site is if it’s overly complicated or takes minutes to load a single page. The quality of your site directly affects how you are perceived by members of your audience, as well as search engines where your business will be discovered.
Tracking some specific site metrics can point you toward the aspects of your website that need to be improved. Take a look at some of these numbers in relation to your site:
- Bounce rate. How many visitors opened your website and immediately returned to their search engine?
- Loading speed. How long does it take for your website to load? Too long, and it will deter visitors from sticking around.
- Page depth. Do visitors move past your landing page? If they do, it’s a good sign that your website is both functional and engaging.
There are many other website metrics you can and should track. Set goals for your website so you can gather the right data and put it to use as soon as possible to boost your brand.
4. Publish Quality Content
The value of online content can’t be overstated. High-quality and consistent content will add visibility to your brand and bolster your image in your space. Content is a universal strategy that will work for businesses in any industry.
A company that sells cookware, for example, will have a lot more credibility with consumers if it maintains a cooking blog that shows its products at work. Page visitors will associate the brand with recipes and guides first, then move toward buying the associated products.
The same strategy will work for a fintech company giving financial advice, a marketing company highlighting new advertising trends, or even a lawn care startup providing landscaping tips.
Written, audio, and video content will add layers to your brand that consumers can more easily associate with and relate to.
5. Embrace Transparency
Secrets don’t hurt anyone—until they’re discovered. In the case of your brand, one wrong move coming to light could ruin your credibility for years to come. That’s why more and more companies are embracing transparency as a way to win the hearts of consumers.
Patagonia is an excellent example of using transparency to improve its credibility. As an outdoor sportswear company, Patagonia has long told its customers that the earth should be cared for through green initiatives. It didn’t stop there, though. Patagonia put its money where its mouth is by showing customers exactly where its materials come from and what it’s doing to make the world a better and cleaner place. Walking the talk has given the company a lot of credibility.
You want your brand to be synonymous with all things positive, especially reliability and credibility. But brand credibility doesn’t just create itself. Start making these changes, and customers will begin to see your brand as more than just a logo.
This article was written by John Hall from Forbes and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].