You are probably familiar with the trust fall exercise where someone closes their eyes and drops backwards, hoping someone will catch them. The thing about trust though is that it’s rarely as dramatic as falling backwards.
For the most part, we go with the brands we trust for our important purchases. We all have a sort of unspoken level below which we probably just grab whatever is nearest or cheapest. But when it is important to us, trust starts to be a big factor in the decision to buy.
For many major brands (Apple, M&S and Mercedes, for example, spring immediately to mind), trust in the product range is vital to the both the brand and as a major influence on the buyer’s decision to purchase. In fairness though, this is a brand trust that has developed over years of market presence, and of course it also relates to a clear track record of quality.
So how do you go about building trust on a smaller, perhaps localised level?
There are several factors you need to consider right from the outset.
Proof of quality by consistent messages.
- Your brand must perform to expectations and do so consistently. This is actually related to the visible presence of the products or services as well as the actual purchased items. You need to be seen as a brand and see that your brand is seen.
Being visible by being transparent.
- Letting the consumer into your business is a great way to build confidence, particularly at the local level. People will usually have a high level of trust in what the Americans refer to as a ‘mom and pop’ business.
Restaurants for example often now list the sources of their supply chain for key ingredients. My local greengrocer is always keen to point out when his produce is a little expensive this week or if he doesn’t carry an item because it’s not as good as it was at the start of the season. Both of these are weaknesses in his offer, but far from affecting his trade, it boosts consumer confidence.
Be seen as people not just the brand.
- Nothing builds trust quite like knowing who you are buying from. Being seen as human means that the buyer has a bond with your product that is not available from a corporate institution.
Keep it social.
- Like it or not, social media is part of your public face these days but keep the selling on it to a minimum. Blogs (like this one) and news items on your website are also a great way of talking directly to your market.
Just as an exercise, try reversing the above and see how it makes you feel about the brand.
We have built our business on trust. Regardless of if we are dealing with a local small business or a large corporate image, we make sure that our clients will always say about us it is that they trust our brand.
The trust you generate in your brand is not about big demonstrations like the ‘trust fall’ game it is about consistency, planning and strategy.