In the business arena, trust is everything. At the heart of trust, you’ll find a high degree of credibility.
Thus, it follows that small businesses who want to be more successful should focus on how they can enhance brand credibility.
The “What” and “Why” of Brand Credibility
When a customer is confronted with a choice, he or she is almost always going to go for the option that’s more credible. So what is credibility? And how does the strategic cultivation of brand credibility affect your business?
If you want the boring dictionary definition, credibility is the quality of being trusted and believed in. But if you prefer a more buttoned-down version, it’s basically the degree to which people trust that you know what you’re talking about.
- Trust. Credibility is underpinned by a high degree of believability and genuineness. When people feel your brand is believable and genuine, they’re going to trust what you say and do.
- Rapport. It’s much easier to build a positive relationship with potential clients when they find you credible. In this sense, credibility is a vital key to the relationship-building process. (It’s especially valuable when it comes to forming first impressions.)
- Loyalty. Want to retain more customers, reduce customer acquisition costs, and dramatically improve loyalty? Credibility will help you keep customers “in the fold” for longer periods of time.
As beneficial as it is to have a high degree of credibility, it’s just as dangerous to suffer a lack of credibility. As Wildfire PR puts it, “A perceived lack of credibility usually morphs into an unwillingness to trust and rely on the person, company or brand in question, which in turn affects recruitment, HR, sales, and other business functions.”
In other words, you can’t afford to ignore credibility. You either have it or you don’t … and the repercussions can be quite substantial.
Five Tips for Enhancing Brand Credibility
Credible brands are built on the basis of thousands of individual interactions. Fortunately, you can begin to build credibility with just a few small steps. Here are some suggestions.
1. Get Serious About Content
In the digital world, content is everything. Most brands believe they’re developing content for the purpose of strengthening their SEO profile or making direct sales, but the reality is that most content is nothing more than a credibility booster.
When people see content attached to your brand’s name, it instantly elevates your status in their eyes. The question is: Are you generating enough of the right content?
The great thing about content is you have so many different options. Here are just a few of the various types to consider:
- Blog posts are great for elevating the credibility of your website in the eyes of both human visitors and search bots.
- Branded booklets from a website like PrintingCenterUSA.com are excellent for sharing information about your brand when you meet with potential customers in person.
- Case studies are effective if you’re in a B2B industry where your products and services have a tangible and trackable impact on the bottom line.
In addition to blog posts, booklets, and case studies, you can invest in books, lead magnets, social media posts, emails, and other forms of digital content. The more you have attached to your name, the better.
2. Earn and Leverage Media Coverage
Tap into the halo effect by aligning your name with other brands and figures that may have substantially more credibility than you do. This typically occurs when you can get another brand to mention you in a blog post or news article.
For example, if a Forbes.com journalist is looking for sources for a piece, you could provide an answer and have your brand mentioned in the article. From that point on, you may refer to your brand as being “featured in Forbes.”
The same goes for podcasts. Almost every podcaster is actively looking for guests to interview. Find one that discusses topics related to your industry, niche, or target market and offer to be a guest. Check out libsyn.com for steps on how to get started and get ideas from shows they host. Easy peasy!
3. Encourage Customer Reviews
Every satisfied customer can be turned into a credibility marker for your brand. The challenge is how to get them to speak up.
If you’re having trouble collecting positive feedback from satisfied customers, it’s probably because you haven’t actively sought it. Head back to the drawing board and design a plan for how you can incentivize people to give you feedback. (This might include giving a coupon code or free product to anyone who provides a positive review.) You can put coupon codes on your website, some coupon sites, like CouponBirds.com, will select them and show to shoppers.
4. Prioritize Customer Service
People don’t always remember what a product or service did for them. They tend to remember the way your company made them feel, however.
In today’s industry, where most brands offer nonexistent and/or automated customer service, there’s nothing more impressive than a company that goes above and beyond. If you make exceptional customer service a priority, people will notice.
And then when you add incentives for reviews and case studies on top of that, great things will happen.
5. Use the “Under-Over Strategy”
Are you having trouble generating satisfied customers? You might be approaching them the wrong way. An effective strategy to move the needle in a positive direction is to implement an “Under-Over Strategy.”
The approach is simple:
- Under-promise on the front end
- Over-deliver on the back end
If you under-promise and over-deliver, people will be thrilled. While they’re in the moment of being thrilled, you should swoop in and request a review, testimonial, case study, etc. You’ll find that 9 times out of 10, people will take you up on your request.
Elevate Your Brand
Remember, nobody builds a brand in a day. You can, however, begin to lay the foundation. And if you’re looking for the most foolproof way to build a brand that lasts, focus on building your credibility.
Whether you accomplish this via content, media coverage, customer reviews, customer service, or a strategy of over-delivering, every proactive step you take toward elevating your brand’s credibility will serve you well in the long run. Get started today!