You want your brand to be credible. This credibility can be gained in many ways, and while the foundation of credibility is knowing your stuff and being a knowledgeable resource for prospects, the good news is that you don't need to present immense amounts of details and information to be considered credible. Credibility is more about the clarity, enthusiasm, and consistency of information presented.
As we said above, the foundation for your credibility is knowledge. If you don't know what you're talking about, there's no credibility no matter what else you do or say.
Focus is another important piece of credibility. In this context, focus represents the fact that you do not deviate or go off on tangents in presenting content to your audience. You should present as single-minded in your knowledge, approach, and opinions.
Enthusiastic people tend to be viewed as more credible than those who simply do not have enthusiasm for the topic/product being presented. You will find it a lot harder to establish credibility if you are lacking passion for your brand.
Perhaps the most important piece of building your startup's credibility is demonstrating that you care. In building your online credibility you must show you have an active interest in the well-being of your audience. Regardless of what you're doing online—building a blog, communicating with readers, selling a product, or having a conversation on social media—the single biggest thing you can do to build credibility is show you care about your audience.
Building a Brand Identity and Gaining Credibility
Your brand identity is comprised of what your brand says, what your values are, how you communicate about your product, and what you want people to feel when they interact with your brand. This brand identity is the personality of your business and serves as a promise to your customers.
The impression your product leaves with your customers stays with them long after the sale is completed. Brand identity is the process of shaping that impression. There are various components that make up a well-developed brand identify.
Here are our favorite ways to build and ensure enduring credibility for your brand.
1. Have a clearly established brand identity
Establishing your brand identity does not just make your product more memorable, it makes your brand more authoritative in its market. The brand that establishes a face and maintains that face consistently over time develops credibility among its competitors and trust among its customers.
2. Engage with the community of thought leaders
As you build an online presence, focus on sharing and commenting on content from your niche's thought leaders. As you engage through social media you're showing you understand and value those around you who know what they're talking about. Drawing from their expertise and knowledge in turn demonstrates you are a credible source.
3. Do your homework
Sharing content without reading it or commenting on it without really knowing what it's all about comes across as disingenuous. Make sure you know what you're sharing so that when you engage, you do so thoughtfully and purposefully.
4. Use inbound marketing techniques
Using inbound marketing techniques helps build a credible reputation. Using inbound forces you to create your content with a human voice, to be consistent in your content when you leverage it on each channel, and to stick to it.
5. Protect the personal information of clients and prospects
Safeguarding everybody's personal information improves your brand's credibility. Don't wait for the inevitable regulatory oversight. Take care of the information you gather. Don't sell it or let anyone use it without permission.
6. Don't be overly sales-y
Use promotion-free content marketing to increase customer trust in your brand. Consumers want reliable information before making any purchase decisions. Know where prospects are at in you marketing funnel. That way, you can engage them with relevant content that meets them where they are in their buyer's journey. It may be a slower process, but over time the trust is established and it grows.
The trust that underlies credibility is a byproduct of your commitment to quality and excellence. If you deliver the right results to the right people, over time they will come to believe in, and trust, your product and your service.
7. Be available and easily accessible
To establish the trust that builds credibility for your brand, be sure you are always accessible to your customers, and that you allow them to directly interact with you. You lessen your credibility any time a customer has a question and they cannot get an answer in a timely manner.
To support the accessibility for your customers you should set up a full feature customer-support infrastructure. Use helpdesk software, attend conferences and events, and seek to answer questions promptly and personally. This increases your likability and provides support to your customers. That support provides the basis for building the trust and credibility that we've been talking about.
8. Make a good product
Purchase decisions are often made based on emotion instead of logic. Your challenge is to be sure your product is of impressive quality so as to justify their purchase. No matter how good the game you talk is, if the product is not top-quality it will draw negative reviews. That leads to distrust and decreased credibility.
9. Be transparent and honest
To further establish your credibility you need to be transparent. That means recognizing and being open about your startup's strengths and weaknesses. If your brand isn't right for a potential customer, guide them to a brand that is a better fit. This shows you care about the customer and their needs, not just making a sale, thus building credibility, and ensuring that they’ll come back when the time is right.
Likewise, if there is a breach of trust/credibility, like a data breach or faulty product, it is possible to recover if you've created adequate consumer goodwill, demonstrated a willingness to fix any problem, and built a solid belief in your product and customer service. When necessary, apologize and acknowledge where the brand went wrong as well as fully articulate what efforts you are making to rebuild your customers' trust.
Brand credibility is an important part of a startup's quest for success. Be consistent, be honest, and be transparent alongside working to implement marketing best practices, and you'll be well on your way to establishing your brand as one your customers and prospects can count on.
We've mentioned consistency quite a bit in this post. We're linking to our social media branding checklist below. It's a free download you can use to make sure everyone on your team is on the same page and you're presenting a united front across media channels.