At the core of every successful modern brand are two things – transparency and trust. Think of them like Yin and Yang. They are distinct, but they cannot exist without one another. Transparency creates trust, and trust is measured by transparency. Likewise, your brand cannot exist without being transparent and trusted. It’s these elements that create the foundation for a bond with the customer. This is crucial because, ultimately, customers choose which brands succeed and which fail.
Follow the tips below to learn how to build a more transparent brand and establish trust with your target customers.
Transparency – Yin – was recently cited by Google as the “critical competitive differentiator” in business success. It can mean different things for different brands, but the core remains the same: being honest, open, and genuine about your business. Start with being transparent in the following areas: data usage, prices, operations, finances, goals, and mistakes.
- Data usage: explain why you need it and how you will ensure it remains safe. The more honest you are, the more likely customers will accept the terms and give you better data. Try to hide it, and they’ll deny it.
- Pricing: be upfront and honest; don’t hide it in the fine print; you know most customers don’t read it and end up feeling cheated.
- Operations: engage customers and show the human side of your brand – give them a behind-the-scenes tour. You don’t have to share the family secret, you just need to show them the quality of the process.
- Finance: explain the pricing as much as you can – customers respect you’re a business that needs to make money, they just want to know they’re not being cheated.
- If you mess up: don’t hide the mistake or make excuses – own it. Tell everyone why it happened, what you’re doing to ensure it won’t happen again, and how you’re going to take care of those affected. A mistake can be made far worse by your response.
Trust – Yang – is following through on your promises, being authentic and honest, and showing your customers you care about them. Start with sharing your mission statement and values. This is easily accomplished and tells your customers that your community is their community and that you stand for something worth supporting. After this, the essentials are having a customer communication strategy, creating authentic and honest content, inviting customers into your community, and prioritizing post-purchase relationships.
- Customer communication strategies: let them know who you are and what you’re up to on social media, in emails, on blogs, and on your website. Make it personal and more than product updates.
- Create content: make sure it’s relevant to your customers, shares an insight, or answers a question, and is 100% true.
- Engage: invite customers into your community, share your culture, involve them in product development, and give them behind-the-scenes looks whenever possible. These small engagements show you trust and value their opinions.
- Keep the relationship alive: customers want to feel like they’re more than a purchase. So, make them feel that way with a rewards program, a follow-up communications sequence, or some other benefit or treat.
Building a transparent and trusted brand is an act of intentionality, not money. They’ll help you build a bond with your customers and find long-term success.
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