The New Year Isn’t New, After All.

While the times may change, your reason for branding won’t.

By Jennifer Holland, Certified Brand Strategist, Holland People+Brands

Sure, the way the marketplace works today is very different from the way it did even just a few years ago.

For example, remember when companies spent a combined $12 billion annually on listings in the Yellow Pages to garner business? Good luck finding a phone book today.

The way we purchase products or services is different, but why we buy them has remained the same.

The marketplace buys because of TRUST. If your prospects and customers don’t trust you, then they won’t buy from you.

Trust is the essence of brand. It’s an emotional connection. We trust a brand because of the relationship we have with it.

As in all relationships, however, trust must be earned. We tend to trust people who are likable, authentic, and transparent. It’s the same with brands. We trust brands that are consistent and that stay true to who or what they are.

More important, we trust what others have to say about the brand over what advertisers say about it.

So how can YOU take advantage of this unchanging truth?

Testimonials are a shortcut for creating trust. If you don’t already have a system in place to gather testimonials from your satisfied customers, make that a top priority for 2019.

Secondly, develop an easy system for your current customers to refer business to you. All the celebrity endorsements in the world can’t compare to a simple referral from a friend.

You also want to find some way to offer a guarantee for what you sell. Perhaps you can guarantee specific results. Or, you can guarantee customer satisfaction. If you’re in a profession where guarantees aren’t allowed – for example, if you’re a doctor or lawyer – find a way to guarantee something. Then, create a guarantee seal to put on your website that calls attention to this important, trust-building communication.

Brands that guarantee are the brands that create more immediate, lifelong and trust-based relationships with their customers.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Guarantee every phone call is answered by a live person
  • Guarantee patients will be greeted with a smile
  • Guarantee wait times won’t exceed 10 minutes

Hardwire processes within your business to ensure your promise is kept. Even if you aren’t able to keep your promise, turn the instance into a positive interaction. For example: “I’m sorry we kept you waiting for 12 minutes, Ms. Johnson. As a way to show our humble apologies, we’d like to offer you this gift card good towards a free dinner at a restaurant of your choosing.”

Your customers will admire you because you keep your word and back it up.

You absolutely must hold trust as sacrosanct in your business. The worst thing you can ever do is lose it, because trust is nearly impossible to regain.

That’s why it’s so important to establish transparency across all your media platforms. You want your prospects and customers to see you as real, honest, and upfront about what they can expect from you, as well as what you expect from them.

When you have made your brand synonymous with trust, people will want to do business with you—a premise for growth that really isn’t new at all.

Therefore, go forth . . . and brand.

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