People are getting cynical about brands. They’ve alwyas been cynical about politicians, gas prices and doctors, but now they’ve started to get cynical about brands.
Part of the reason is that many brands fail to deliver on their promise, which makes people doubt those brands in the future. As more brands undeliver, more people get discouraged and frustrated. It’s more common to expect a brand product to not deliver than to expect it to deliver. And that’s sad.
At the core of this is no trust. Consumers can’t trust you to deliver. Brand trust also comes from reassurance from others, which leads me to my next point.
Another reason people don’t trust brands is because of the Internet. Isn’t everything because of the Internet these days? People are getting divorced because of the Internet. People are becoming hermits because of the Internet. But then again, people feel more confident to voice their opinions, because of the Internet. And that’s a good thing, mostly. And when it comes to brands, it can be good or bad, depending on how people see your brand. If they like it then Web sites are filled with glowing reviews; however, if people don’t like your brand, you’re toast. Or at least, you have a harder fight to win new customers (or win them back). People trust other people’s opinions. Even if they are strangers, it doesn’t matter – people still trust their opinions on forums and blogs.
What Can You Do To Be Trusted?
To be trusted, you must tell the truth. This means in all of your marketing communications, in your brand promise, everything – you must tell people the truth. This also means you must
• Base your brand strategy on something you can actually deliver. If you are trying to tout being a “green” company, but you don’t use recycled paper to make your packaging, people will find out about it on blogs or other Web sites, and that means you didn’t deliver. If you can’t create a sustainable product at this time, don’t pretend like you can. People can see right through that, especially investigative journalists!
• Deliver on your brand promise. People and brands that do what they say are trusted. If consumers know they can count on you and your product to deliver the results you promise, people will buy from you again. It only takes one occurrence of not delivering to break that trust. People are ruthless! Plus, it’s highly likely that you have plenty of competitors willing to make good on their brand promise if you don’t.
• Get online to see what people are saying about you. If you don’t know what they’re saying, you won’t know how to fight back, and you won’t know if it is even necessary to fight back. By posting your own blogs to let people know what’s going on with your company, you’ll be seen as open and honest. And by combating any rumors floating around the blogosphere, you’ll show that you are a modern company, reaching out to people in the same way that they reach out. Again, this reinforces trust – you’re one of them.