We have all come across a brand or a business, stopped – and thought to ourselves, does this business seem legit? That is a vital question when it comes to where to invest and spend your money, but what makes a brand trustworthy?
As a business owner, whether you are selling a product or a service, there are a few key steps that you can take to make sure potential clients and customers feel comfortable working with you. These steps are also something that you should continue to check in with yourself on as your business evolves and grows over the years to make sure that you are building confidence in your brand, not losing it.
So, what makes a brand trustworthy? Let’s jump into a few key factors and tips you can implement to establish that credibility with your brand!
Make a promise and deliver on it
This is a major factor in what makes a brand trustworthy for any business or industry you are in. You have to be able to make a promise about what you are going to give your clients or customers, whether that is a custom brand/website, a relaxing getaway at your vacation rental, a new wardrobe they feel confident in, etc., and then actually give that to them.
A great way to show off how you have successfully delivered on your promise with past clients and customers is to have before and after photos and testimonials throughout your social media and website. This gives potential clients the opportunity to see the transformation you made in someone else’s life or to see how amazing other people think your products are so they feel more confident trusting you with their business.
If you are a service provider and offer multiple services, this also means having transformations and testimonials for each one of your services. For example, I wouldn’t expect people to trust me to coach them just because I have good testimonials from my clients who I have done branding and website for. So, on my coaching page, I have specific testimonials from past mentees as proof of how this coaching can help grow your business.
Show up with consistency and cohesion to build trust
You need to show up consistently and cohesively to build trust. Let’s break this down.
First, try to think about where you are even meeting people for the first time or where they are going to come across your business for the first time.
If that is Instagram, make sure you are showing up there consistently and putting content out that shows off your business and all that you can do. This also includes the transformations and testimonials we just talked about. This way, before anyone even visits your site, they know what you do and how you can help solve an issue that they are facing.
The second part of this is cohesion. This is something that not everyone pays enough attention to, but it is vital when trying to build a business that is trustworthy. When I say cohesion, what I mean is that everywhere you represent yourself and everywhere people have contact with you and your business should feel the same.
A few basic things to check with your business to make sure you are doing this is to ask yourself, is your branding the same on your social media, website, email list, etc.? Are you using the same fonts and colors, and visual styles across all of those mediums?
Is your tone of voice consistent everywhere people find you? Do you use the same language and key phrases in all of those places?
These are all things that can confuse people and build a sense of mistrust if they are not done properly and are important to ask yourself when you’re trying to work out what makes a brand trustworthy. For example, if you use very personality-driven messaging on your social media, but then someone goes to your website, and your copy is very stiff and cold, they may be confused about who you actually are and which side of you they are actually going to work with.
Monitor your brand
Your brand is an ever-growing and ever-evolving entity, and you need to make sure that you are consistently monitoring it. This means doing things like market research, sending out surveys that have very direct and pointed questions, and checking in with clients and customers after the project is over, a few months after they purchase a product, etc.
This allows you to keep track of how you can improve your business and serve your ideal clients and customers better as time goes on. There is no one size fits all method when it comes to running a business, and you are going to have to make small tweaks to your business as the market evolves and changes over the years.
Customer experience matters
Let me say that again. Customer experience matters! It is vital that you have a seamless client experience from start to finish with your business and is a major factor in what makes a brand trustworthy. This means having clear communication, having an easy onboarding and offboarding process, being up-front about timelines and deadlines, and everything in between.
This is important not only to the project itself and making sure that it goes off without a hitch but also to your referral process. Referrals can play a major role in your business and can help keep you booked out or sold out without having to feel like you are marketing all the time (because your clients and customers are going to be doing that for you!).
I have had clients in the past refer other clients to me based solely on my onboarding processes. And when I say based only on my onboarding process, I mean that we had not even started the project yet or done one bit of design, but they still referred their friends to me just because of how great the initial onboarding was!
Be transparent and honest always
Transparency is key when it comes to what makes a brand trustworthy. We are all human, and we all make mistakes sometimes. If you f’ed up or bought into a certain marketing tactic that you don’t stand by anymore, say it.
There are a lot of mistakes that I have made over the years, but I am always honest about what happened and why it was a mistake for me. Clients and customers will value that and won’t see that as a flaw in your business but as a reason to trust and believe in you even more.
For example, I used to rely heavily on sharing numbers or those of my clients, and while I still do this to some degree, I have changed the way I share them so I don’t engage in any sort of shaming practices.
Pricing transparency is also huge when it comes to building trust. It’s important for potential clients and customers to be able to see your prices and feel like they are empowered in their decision to work with you.
Now, this doesn’t mean you have to have the exact price listed, as some of your services may have a varying price range depending on the platform, what they add on, etc. However, even having a “starting at” price allows people to make a more informed decision and self-select the best way to work with you.
Your confidence in your work and your offers translates to trust and authority
You NEED to be confident in what you are doing and what you are offering. If people come across your business and seem like you are hesitant or unassured about your business and services, why would they trust you with their needs? Imagine walking into a cake shop to inquire about ordering your dream wedding cake. When you walk in the woman at the counter shrugs at your questions and looks down at her screen far too often. The owner says they “think” they can make that happen for you. You’d be nervous right? Probably look for another bakery where the person is confident in their abilities to deliver and even pulls out past samples of other cakes that make have some of the same features or flavors.
Confidence in yourself and your services will grow over time. However, it’s important that you go into each and every project knowing that you are the expert. You may not know everything about web design or branding or photography, but you know what makes a good website and a good brand, etc.
Be confident when you talk to potential clients about your offers and how you will give them a strategy and product that will work for their individual business, whether it is your first client or your hundredth.
You should have made the same or similar investment in your brand
This is major, especially if you are a service provider. How can clients trust you with a $5,000 investment if you’ve never made that investment in your business (for the same need or something similar)? This a time when you need to lead by example.
If you think about it, you wouldn’t trust someone to coach a successful basketball team if they have never played themselves. The same thing applies to your business.
You also need to make sure that the quality of your investment matches the quality of the investment you are asking clients to make. If you are a brand photographer and are charging $2,000 for brand photos, you need to make sure that your own brand photos for your business live up to that quality. iPhone pictures or pictures from 5 years ago just won’t cut it. And no one is fooled by Canva background remover.
At the end of the day, if people see that you haven’t made an effort to invest in what you are offering, they won’t want to invest in it either.
We hope these tips help you as you navigate what makes a brand trustworthy and how to build that credibility in your own business. If you are still struggling with your making your brand credible, it may be time to step back and reassess your brand strategy. Get in touch to see how we can help create a psychology-backed brand that you are proud of!