Every small business owner wants to succeed and every business has a brand, whether they created one of not. Success and a business’s brand are intimately linked. Consumers’ perception of a company is their brand, and without the perception of trustworthiness, a business will rarely succeed. What steps can small businesses take to further their brand perception of trustworthiness?

1 – “Do what you say you are going to do.” This is the way marketing values expert Robert Ferguson sums it up. When a business follows this advice in all that they do, from interactions with customers to internal decision making, consumers will associate that business with security and trustworthiness. Authenticity also breeds trustworthiness, especially among millennial customers. Most buyers value reliability over price, so efforts spent on building trust are not wasted. To illustrate this point, I’d like to invite you to lunch – meet me at Chipotle. Anyone? Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last year, you know that Chipotle’s brand has been rocked by a series of e-coli outbreaks in their restaurants. Customer perception of the trustworthiness of their brand has taken a huge, if not yet fatal, hit. Do what you say you are going to do!

2 – Advertise! Few things build name and brand recognition like advertising. Usually, brand and name recognition imply trustworthiness. As an example, would you buy “NO-AD” sunscreen on your next trip to Florida, knowing that even though it costs less, if it doesn’t work, you and your kids are going to have miserable sunburns? Or are you more likely to buy a bottle with a well-known, nationally recognized brand name on it? Most of us would go with the latter choice, as shown in this ranked list of sunscreen sales for 2015. “NO-AD” ranked well below the well-advertised brands, yet above some of the higher priced boutique brands. Could it be that many of us are more likely to trust the product whose name and brand with which we are most familiar?

Which types of advertising are most trusted by consumers? That answer largely depends on the age group of your target customers. The Nielsen Company’s 2015 Global Survey on Trust in Advertising reveals that the majority of us find TV and newspaper advertising to be trustworthy and accurate (63% and 60%, respectively). Nielsen concludes “trust in traditional advertising is still strong.”

3 – Invest in a Branded Website. The 2015 Nielsen survey referenced above found that a branded website is ranked #2 as most trusted by consumers. (What ranked #1 for all age groups? Word-of-mouth, which is known as “earned advertising.”) What is a branded website? A branded website is a custom designed business website that features the company name, logo, brand, and other unique characteristics on every page. It goes beyond just placing a logo everywhere, a branded website will have accurate information about the business on every page, conveyed through custom content, original photography and videos of actual employees, products, and location. This level of brand communication on a website is not only the foundation of a business’ online presence, but also serves to build trustworthiness. Consumers’ trust and action are intimately linked, especially in online interactions.

A few years ago, marketing experts John Gerzema and David Roth proclaimed: “Trust is the New Black”, adding “today, a trustworthy company has a 35% greater chance to drive brand differentiation.” How do you think your business is perceived in the marketplace? Morris Marketing specializes in helping small businesses in Raleigh and central North Carolina build their brands and branded websites. Call us today at 919-424-8314 for a consultation. We can help you build your brand’s trustworthiness.

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