Getting people to trust your brand is critical to your company’s success. But, how do you build trust? According to a study of 1,220 U.S. consumers conducted by The Values Institute, the following five values influence brand trust. See how you measure up.
Ability – This speaks to both your performance as a company and the performance of your product(s) or service(s). Can you produce the results you say you can? Will your product/service perform as promised? In order to succeed, you have to think of a customer-business relationship like any other relationship which means don’t make promises you can’t keep.
Concern – Whether it’s by providing exceptional customer service or giving customers freebies now and then as a thank you for doing business with you, it helps to know you care. The same goes for your employees. Remember how upset people were when they found out Apple’s factories in China had poor working conditions? Most people value human lives over products, and they want to know that you do too.
Connection – Customers want to do business with companies that value the same things they do. As a company, it’s up to you to ensure your values align with your customers. For instance, if your customers value customization, make sure you do everything possible to ensure your offerings can be tailored to fit the customer’s needs.
Consistency – This is the one time where it’s good to be predictable. Customers need to be able to trust that you can produce the same level of quality and service every time. But, consistency doesn’t just apply to products and services, it applies to every aspect of your business. This is especially true for your marketing. You can use different creative and multiple media, but how you talk about your brand needs to be the same every time. No exceptions.
Sincerity – Be open and honest about everything you do. Share as much information as possible with your customers. Provide a forum for criticism and questions. Make it easy for customers to connect with you either online, in person or by phone. Most importantly, admit your mistakes. People put more faith in a company that admits when it’s wrong and takes steps to correct the problem instead of trying to cover it up.
The most successful companies are the ones with a customer-centric approach. By following the values above, you’re putting the customer first which will ultimately build trust in your brand and increase your profits.
*To see how Starbucks, Coca-Cola and other top brands measured up on this study, check out the article in the April 2012 issue of Entrepreneur magazine.