I think of brands like Apple, Nike, Converse, McDonalds, Starbucks, and Zappos. These brands have earned the trust of the people. These brands have set a model that is proven to be effective and profitable.
It can be dangerous to compare ourselves to these monster brands because it could tempt us to believe that building a big brand is what it means to be successful.
I would argue that it’s more important to build a trustworthy brand than it is to build a big brand.
So how do you do this? How do you position your brand in a way that conveys trustworthiness, confidence, and authority?
Here is what has worked for me.
Find Your Tribe and Speak to Them (and No One Else)
The biggest mistake anyone can make when trying to build a trustworthy brand is to attempt to reach the masses.
There are too many options, there are too many brands and personalities out there for people to look at. There are hardly any nationally recognized brands anymore.
Think of the brands that you follow. I’ll use my own personal examples…
- I follow Express Mens (I’m tall and lean and their clothes fit me really well)
- I follow Zappos ($50 Chuck Taylors and overnight delivery – hell yeah!)
- I follow Seth Godin (He’s a genius)
- I follow NextDraft (Because I despise clickbait news and he gives it to me straight)
So ask yourself, do you follow these brands? You probably don’t. If not, who do you follow? How many of the people you know follow the same brands that you do?
There may be overlap and cross over, but in the grand scheme of things, everyone has their own interests. In today’s world, there are unlimited options to chose from. We have more than 3 channels.
It’s simply not feasible to speak to everyone. So the trick is to figure out EXACTLY who you are trying to serve and seek them out.
When you are specific, you know who you must tailor your message to. You know that you are aiming at a target. When you build an audience of people that have a specific interest, you can easily monetize your brand because you can create products and services that match the interests and solve the problems of your audience.
For instance, let’s pretend you build a brand about drones. Let’s imagine you created an amazing YouTube channel all about drone photography and made content teaching people how to be better drone pilots.
Now, let’s imagine you created an in-depth video course that gives specific instructions on exactly how to be a better drone pilot and use your skills to build a photography career in real estate or action sports.
What are the chances your audience will have some interest in that product? The chances are pretty damn good.
That’s how you build a trustworthy brand. That’s how you sell products and build authority. The more specific, the better.
I have a reusable Starbucks cup. I try to create as little waste as possible, so I bring it with me in case I need to stop and get a cup of coffee.
A few months ago, I brought my Starbucks cup into the local coffee shop. I bought a cup of coffee and asked them to use the cup. The guy saw the cup and scoffed at it. He said, “why would you ever go to Starbucks?”
I said …
because when I go to Starbucks, I know exactly what I’m going to get.
Why is McDonalds the worst food, yet the most successful restaurant in the world? Why has Google’s home page been the same for the last 20 years? Why does Joe Rogan still do 3 hours podcasts in the same format?
Consistency is key to developing a trusted brand. People love knowing what to expect. People love feeling like they can count on something and people hate unexpected surprises.
Building a trusted brand takes years. A brand is a reputation, a brand is built on dependability. If you can’t show up consistently over the course of months or even years, then why should anyone take the time to respect your ideas?
However, this is more than being consistent over the long haul… this is also about being consistent in your message.
Make a claim and stick to it. Take a stance on something and be consistent in how you deliver your message.
Let’s revisit those same monster brands I mentioned at the beginning.
Apple has kept the same exact operating system throughout the entire iPhone run. IOS allows them to charge more and more money over and over again for the same exact product.
Starbucks serves you hot coffee in minutes, every single time with almost no mistakes or lines. (Unless of course, you’re at the Nashville airport).
Zappos will always be the customer service company of the world. Yes, you can still call them and ask them to order you a pizza and they still make you say “wow.”
And Nike… well, “Just Do It.”
Be consistent in your actions and in your message. Do this, and your brand will earn the trust of the people.
Tell Your Story
A brand is not a brand without a story.
Brands have personalities. Brands inspire people to be more and to do better. Brands carry weight. The reason why a brand can do all of these things is because of the story behind them.
When you think of Tesla, what story do you think of? What’s the picture that gets painted in your head? Is it a positive story or a negative story?
What about when I mention the Koch Brothers? What about when I mention Victoria’s Secret? What about People Magazine? What about Ellen?
What do you feel?
Your brand should make people feel something. The only way to bring forth an emotion is to tell a story. So be generous in your story. Be upfront about who you are and why you think your message is an important one. Talk about your experiences, your struggles, your lessons and use that story to bring value to the world.
It will make your brand more personable and give people the chance to develop a relationship. A relationship
The Brand is Key
I’m a web marketer. I believe in building strategies to put yourself in a position to succeed. Yes, there are deliberate steps you can take to build your business or grow your cause.
But I’m also a realist and the reality is that no digital marketing strategy, SEO, or advertising strategy can overcome the value of a good brand.
I have learned that to build a trustworthy brand, you need to dedicate your time. It takes dedication and patience. But it’s worth it.
So take a moment to reevaluate your actions. What is your brand message? Are you delivering this message to a specific group of people? Are you delivering your message consistently? Are you delivering your message through a story?
If you do these things, you will earn the trust of the people.
What other suggestions do you have? Hit reply or leave them in the comments.