Brand Credibility: How to Build It and Drive Growth Via Your Online Presence
Whether your marketing goals include attracting, converting, or retaining customers (or, ideally, achieving all of these things), there’s one thing you have to keep in mind: business success is built on brand credibility. A brand that enjoys its audience’s trust won’t just benefit monetarily. It will also have the potential for growth, expansion, and, ultimately, reaching an industry-leader status.
And in 2022, building brand credibility and trust has become more important than ever.
A recent SalesForce survey revealed that in a world dealing with considerable challenges — from the global pandemic to climate change to rising inflation rates — trust is the constant businesses should strive for. In fact, the organization’s State of the Connected Customer report found that:
- 88% of customers believe trust becomes crucial in times of change.
- 72% of buyers say it’s more important than ever for brands to communicate honestly and transparently.
- 62% of people feel emotionally connected to the brands they trust.
- Business practices that drive customer trust include honesty and transparency, responsible use of customer information, acting with customers’ best interests in mind, being proactive about resolving issues, and making brand interactions feel personal and relevant.
So, if you’re ready to take action and drive growth via building brand credibility, here are the easy and accessible ways to work on your online presence that will go a long way towards establishing trust.
Showcase your professional credentials
Edelman’s The New Cascade of Influence special report, which examined the opinions of Gen Z, discovered that when deciding what brands to trust, young consumers’ decisions are influenced by three groups of spokespeople:
- Scientists and experts.
- Brand customers who share similar pain points.
- Brand technical experts.
In other words, young shoppers want to ensure they’re following the advice of credible voices when making purchasing decisions.
So, if your goal is to build brand credibility by making impactful changes to your digital presence, it’s not a bad idea to look for ways to showcase the professional credentials you, your team members, partners, or collaborators may hold.
Something as uncomplicated as adding clickable credentials elements to your content (and drawing attention to them with good design practices) can offer an excellent way for you to boost the trustworthiness of your content and ensure readers see it as a source of solid advice. For a great example, take a look at how Sleep Junkie did that by including a medical reviewer bio in its blog posts.
Or, if you’re looking for easy ways to include trust-boosting elements on your brand’s homepage and about page, you could do something similar to Reveri. Simply add a short professional bio of your leading brand expert/founder. This will reassure potential customers that real-world knowledge and experience went into making your solutions. Plus, it will give them peace of mind knowing they’re choosing a competent business to solve their needs.
Display brand certifications and accreditations
Similarly to the strategy described above, you could also choose to build brand credibility by displaying brand certifications and accreditations.
Although this approach doesn’t cash in on the trustworthiness of industry experts, it still does a fantastic job of demonstrating brand competence by displaying proof or badges from trustworthy organizations.
For instance, Little Spoon, a baby food brand, uses trust badges in the top right corner of its product pages. These visual elements inform customers that the brand’s products are OU Kosher certified, USDA Certified Organic, and FDA-approved cold-pressure treated to kill harmful bacteria and preserve the freshness of the products. It’s a relatively easy strategy to implement, but it works.
And the best part is that you could even expand the use of such trust badges to your social media channels or sales channels like Amazon, where they would be just as impactful in encouraging consumers to see your brand as reliable.
Of course, using certification badges is not the only way to establish trust.
SaaS brands like Sendoso can also display third-party awards and accreditations from authority resources like G2. These trust signals do a stellar job at informing web visitors that the brand offers a high-quality, industry-leading product and that its capability of delivering on its promises has been verified by countless satisfied product users.
Integrate recognizable brands where appropriate
Another great (and easy) way to establish brand trust online is to earn it through association.
By showing off partner or customer logos on your site, you can call your target audience’s attention to the fact that your products and services play an integral part in the success of the brands they already know and trust.
For instance, when targeting B2B customers, businesses often employ “powered by” sections that call attention to well-known service providers that audiences already depend on. So, Prep Center, for instance, highlights that it’s supported by Aura — a well-known brand in the Amazon seller world and a business Prep Center’s potential customers already trust and perceive as competent.
Alternatively, you could also build your business’s credibility on the recognizability and success of your customers. For a great example, take a look at the Mindtickle homepage.
Here, the brand points out that its solution is chosen by “world-class companies,” including MongoDB, Snowflake, Cipla, Juniper Networks, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Mindickle’s audience is guaranteed to recognize these brands as prosperous businesses and is likely to conclude that the success of these brands acts as proof that they only use the best solutions to run their day-to-day operations.
Finally, as you explore methods to earn brand credibility by association, don’t forget that, in some cases, the best way to build trust is to simply share the mentions your business or product has received in the media.
After all, your audience probably considers specific online and offline publications credible — particularly big ones like The New York Times. So, if you’ve been mentioned, don’t be shy to point it out on your homepage, just like January did. This simple hack will provide you with a powerful instance of social proof and show your audience that they can rest assured that your claims are legitimate.
Tell your brand’s story
Let’s take a brief moment to look into the research surrounding the concept of trust.
Several scientific studies have set out to identify the components of a trustworthy reputation (whether for individuals or organizations). And most of them have arrived at a similar conclusion: that trust is built through competence, empathy (having others’ best interest in mind), and authenticity.
In other words, attempting to generate trust through social proof (competence and empathy) alone isn’t enough to build brand credibility. True, there are strategies brands can use to convince their prospects that they can deliver on promises or that they have their customers’ best interests in mind. However, building trust also necessitates proving authenticity, which can be challenging in a world that’s increasingly seen as “fake.” This is a problem, as getting people to trust you depends almost exclusively on the condition that they understand you’re being honest about who you are.
Fortunately, proving genuineness can be as easy as being honest and transparent about who you are as a company. That’s certainly an accessible tactic that any business can employ.
So, to highlight brand authenticity to generate trust, consider telling brand stories on your website.
Shaping and sharing the narrative behind your brand provides an excellent opportunity to create an emotional connection with your audience. Plus, it can also be a fantastic way to convey your company’s mission and values. And that’s very important, as two-thirds of consumers consider mission and values when choosing what brands to buy from.
A look at the Kopi Luwak Direct website shows that this company chose storytelling as a method to prove its authenticity. Creating a short video that describes the journey a coffee bean goes through before it becomes the aromatic beverage everyone likes, Kopi Luwak Direct found a way to share the story of its product, as well as that of the people who work every day to grow, pick, and treat the beans the brand’s customers love so much.
The result is a beautiful video that not only entertains but also successfully conveys the brand’s passion for high-quality fair-trade coffee that’s both a delicious and ethical treat.
Highlight your commitment to customer safety
In recent years, security (both online and offline) has become a prime concern of consumers choosing what companies to buy from.
According to data from JungleScout, 16% of people still choose to skip in-person events or stick with small groups of friends due to safety concerns. Statista found that 42% of US citizens are “concerned” or “very concerned” about data privacy. And according to the Baymard Institute, 18% of all cart abandonments happen because shoppers don’t trust a website with their credit card information.
So, if your goals include building brand credibility by investing in trust, you might want to consider highlighting your business’s commitment to customer safety.
The great thing is that this is relatively easy to do. Simply displaying badges and accreditations that show your diligence regarding technical security, identity, payment processing, etc., can go a long way in encouraging people to shop with your brand.
You can highlight badges and SSL certificates that show your website uses safe communication protocols. Or, you might choose to go further and inform web visitors that your site (and their data) is protected by trusted cybersecurity companies like Cloudflare and Norton. And, if you process payments, you may even choose to integrate reliable processing methods like PayPal — especially considering that 52% of people are more willing to buy when an unfamiliar business accepts this form of payment.
According to a recent NielsenIQ report, 72% of shoppers consider brand transparency “extremely important” or “important.” Not only do people want to know what they’re buying, but 64% would even switch brands if it meant getting more in-depth product information.
In other words, transparency is a key component of brand trust. This means that, when building brand credibility, you must find ways to enrich your online presence with more transparent practices.
One option would be to use every available opportunity to practice open and honest communication with your customers. Give them information that’s genuinely relevant to their shopping experience — like how much they can expect to pay for shipping or if there are any additional costs associated with their purchase.
For instance, clothing brand Isto does all this. But it also goes a step further, breaking down the precise cost of creating every garment it sells so that its customers know they’re getting a fair deal.
Of course, transparency shouldn’t only relate to price. In addition to being forthcoming about the cost of your products and services, do the same with any relevant returns and refund policies, and even your affiliations.
For a great example, check out the Wirecutter website. There, you’ll see a prominent notification at the beginning of each article, which informs readers that the site may earn a commission if people buy through the provided links.
Don’t be afraid to share some of your intellectual property
There are many ways to encourage your target audience to see your brand as trustworthy. But sometimes, the best way to do it is to show prospects that your business isn’t solely interested in taking customers’ money. You want to demonstrate that you’re genuinely invested in solving their pain points — even if it means passing over the opportunity to sell.
One of the easiest ways to accomplish this online is to share your insider knowledge, give free advice, or even reveal some of your company’s secrets.
Yes, it may seem like a gamble. However, if you look at the available research surrounding educational content, you’ll find that publishing genuinely helpful articles increases conversion rates by 131% and immediately boosts brand trust by 64%.
So, don’t be afraid to share your insider knowledge and intellectual property. For instance, creating an in-depth resource about a topic you have expertise in, like this SaaS valuations article by FE International, won’t “just” help your audience get more value from your brand. It will also encourage them to see your company as a dependable business they can rely on to have their best interest at heart.
Take your social media seriously
If you’re looking for accessible ways to build brand credibility via your online presence, don’t forget to pay attention to your brand’s social media profiles.
Social media marketing is often seen as a way for businesses to reach and engage their audiences. However, it’s essential to remember why consumers interact with brands on social platforms.
According to research from SproutSocial, people follow brands because they want a real-time, unfiltered way to learn about products and services while ensuring that the companies they’re supporting are authentic, culturally relevant, and value-driven.
With this in mind, it becomes clear that businesses trying to work on their credibility must work on their social media presence. No, this doesn’t mean posting a dozen times per day or trying to create content for every social channel imaginable.
Instead, it means
- Choosing relevant social media channels to use to communicate with prospects.
- Practicing consistency when composing captions and choosing visuals. And;
- Delivering the same type of value via social media followers would expect to receive by reading the company’s blog posts or interacting with the brand’s products.
Give your brand a professional face
Lastly, as you explore ways to establish trust through your brand’s online presence, don’t forget that, in some cases, the easiest way to build credibility is to simply put a face behind the name. And while some businesses do this by having a mascot, you can achieve the same trust-building effect by showing off your team.
In addition to the standard practice of informing your prospects whom they’ll be working with if they choose your brand’s services, go a step further and leverage your core team’s professional journeys and profiles.
For example, if you check out the Digitarial Agency Team page, you’ll see a headshot and a short professional bio for each of the company’s employees. This is a great start. But, where this business takes a step further is that every employee’s bio is connected with a LinkedIn profile, making it easier for prospects to get a sense of who the people behind the company are.
The outcome is a more personal connection between the brand’s potential clients and employees and, ultimately, a higher sense of trust bound to result in better business results.
Building brand credibility is a long game
Although building brand credibility is far from an easy undertaking, it’s definitely worth the effort. However, as you embark on the journey of generating trust and making changes to your online presence that will result in growth, remember that brand perception is not something that can change overnight.
In fact, as people are less and less willing to trust the organizations in their environments — be they media, governments, or businesses — achieving a status of a dependable company will take more effort than ever.
So, make sure you don’t rush the process. Instead, choose the strategies you feel would benefit your brand the most and make sure you’re consistent in applying them to all your communication channels. That, coupled with great products, a stellar customer experience, and a superstar customer support team, will ensure your brand becomes the next leader in your industry.